Navigating Uncertain ScenariosBy Javier Picó | Thu, 07/29/2021 - 12:52
If there is one common aspect in the health systems of the Latin American region, which has been further underlined by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the uncertainty among its managers, providers, funders and patients regarding which future scenario will establish itself as the “new order” of health protection.
Uncertainty surrounds the pandemic in terms of when it will stop requiring most sanitary resources, allowing other “epidemics” like diabetes and cancer to be priorities once again. (This will supposedly happen once a minimum rate of vaccination is reached all over the world, not just in rich countries.)
There is also uncertainty about the impact that the lag in medical consultations in the last 18 months will have on the evolution of prevalent diseases and in the complications that will appear, resulting in a need to adjust health risk calculators.
There is uncertainty for managers around health spending planning in the midst of open fronts and budgetary constraints brought about by the economic crisis and its budding recovery process.
These uncertainties cloud the future. And that future uncertainty is blocking brave decision-making, which is vital for recovery.
It is, at the very least, doubtful that the next few years will provide clarity of information and criteria regarding sanitary planning decisions. As a result, the managers and players involved need to adapt to the new way of working and making decisions in an uncertain environment, which, in turn, requires the facilitation of key work environments and processes.
Epidemiological health demand-estimation processes, average health services’ consumption estimation (clinical, drugs, medical devices) and evaluation criteria for new and current technologies are just some of the aspects that need to be managed with some flexibility to respond to the changing and uncertain scenarios that will present themselves in the next few years.
It has been widely said that the COVID-19 pandemic should make us reevaluate our health values, societies and even personal relationships. Beyond that, the health systems and social protection agencies should reevaluate their priorities, roles and processes.
This calls for brave leaders in health systems and social protection agencies who are capable of learning to navigate uncertain territories without being penalized by archaic rules and allowed to manage the risk of making mistakes and reacting accordingly.
More than ever before, only the most profound technical knowledge of health systems, together with organizational agility, can accelerate the recovery and redesign of the healthcare model that this new society is demanding.