Managing the backlog of care

Two years into the pandemic, governments worldwide have began to chill out their social distancing insurance policies. Nevertheless, healthcare programs proceed to be severely impacted by ongoing infections and a rising backlog of sufferers ready for deliberate remedies.

Whereas vaccines have been extraordinarily profitable in decreasing hospitalization and mortality charges, an infection management insurance policies proceed to have an effect on our hospitals’ common operations. In lots of respects, COVID-19 created an ideal storm. It got here at a time when many healthcare programs had been already severely confused, coping with an growing burden of illness inside getting older populations, and power employees shortages.

The pandemic suspended most non-urgent, elective procedures and ambulatory care; consequently, the care backlog elevated. In England alone, 6 million folks had been ready for remedy on the finish of December 2021. It’s estimated that 8 million folks have undiagnosed circumstances, and these are the individuals who stayed away from their healthcare suppliers for concern of catching COVID-19.1 The state of affairs is comparable throughout Europe and North America, with the Group for Financial Co-operation and Improvement (OECD) reporting important numbers of individuals with long-term circumstances lacking important points of their care.2

Supply: Group for Financial Co-operation and Improvement

They are saying, “necessity is the mom of innovation,” which was clearly the case throughout the pandemic. Fast improvement of vaccines, novel use of medicines to deal with contaminated sufferers, and monumental acceleration of digital care paint an image of innovation. Submit-pandemic, some commentators are suggesting this innovation ought to proceed with the restoration, giving international locations a singular alternative to alter issues for the higher, addressing well being inequalities, and growing sustainability.3

From a expertise perspective, healthcare suppliers can make the most of the teachings realized all through the pandemic. They will implement new methods to speed up the movement of sufferers from their backlog into remedy after which onto a swift discharge and rehabilitation.

At every stage of this journey, retaining in common contact with the affected person can be vital to the success of all the course of. In some ways, the operational complexity of managing backlogs, scientific capability, and employees schedules echoes the complexity and interdependencies of the underlying technical infrastructure. Protecting sufferers shortly flowing by the system requires every cog in that system to work flawlessly, always.

Adopting a cross-architectural view of their IT infrastructure and a platform strategy will allow healthcare suppliers to speed up their digital capabilities, automate patient outreach through technology and self-service, and improve the movement of sufferers by the care continuum.4

From a affected person’s perspective, healthcare suppliers needs to be deploying digital options that may:

  • Make the most of the time earlier than remedy to coach and inform sufferers about their situation5
  • Monitor modifications in circumstance that will alter the precedence or remedy pathway
  • Collect pre-operative info and put together sufferers for admission
  • Streamline the journey by the hospital by monitoring folks and belongings
  • Scale back in-patient stays by enabling sufferers to go residence as quickly as they’re medically match
  • Forestall pointless readmission by offering post-acute distant care or monitoring
  • Observe every stage of the digital journey to make sure it’s assembly expectations

Finally, the variety of sufferers ready for remedy will normalize when care groups have the capability to deal with them. Whereas automated processes and synthetic intelligence increase the talents of a healthcare skilled, they are going to by no means substitute the human contact. To deal with the workforce challenges, healthcare suppliers might want to reimagine scientific operations and undertake technology-driven processes that improve effectivity. This may reduce the burden on scientific employees and hold folks throughout the healthcare career.

Fast innovation was commonplace on the top of the pandemic, with virtual care turning into the norm. Though the direct impression of the pandemic on society is now waning, there are extra folks ready for remedy now than ever earlier than. To deal with this backlog, healthcare suppliers should proceed innovating, increasing their digital gives by investing of their underlying technical infrastructure, adopting a cross architectural strategy, and guaranteeing that their digital options present a frictionless expertise to sufferers and employees.


  1. NHS backlog & waiting times in England
  2. Rising from the COVID 19 crisis: Policy responses in the long-term care sector
  3. WHO Manifesto for a healthy recovery from COVID-19
  4. The platform play: How to operate like a tech company
  5. NHS Wait Well program