State of COVID–19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a global health crisis, evolving at unprecedented speed and scale. The priority of governments and organisations everywhere is to take decisive action to protect their people.

The reality is that modern healthcare systems are already under substantial pressure due to demographic changes and long-term affordability constraints. Countries are at different level of capabilities and readiness to deal with a pandemic.

Nonetheless, public policy makers and health administrators face a common challenge now: to articulate and execute a health response that mitigates public harm from an entirely new virus.

Unprecedented, continued pressure on public health

Early success in containing the outbreak and delaying community-to-community spread is evident in some Asian countries, thanks to a vigilant, quick and coordinated crisis response, drawing on lessons learned from previous virus outbreaks. A novel virus didn’t mean a novel experience.

But the COVID-19 health crisis in Asia Pacific is by no means over. A second wave of cases is already flooding some Asian countries, and “lockdowns” are increasingly embraced as a radical new measure across the region. A “lockdown” seeks to slow the spread of the virus by breaking the chain of transmission, but such an extreme measure comes with high economic and social impacts that cannot be sustained indefinitely.

To avoid a resurgence of the virus when lockdowns are lifted, additional public health measures need to be defined and put in place now.

This COVID-19 public health crisis needs a rapid, strategic response

The public policy makers and health administrators are confronted with a challenge that requires a response outside of the existing modes of operating. Thus, the imperative is to learn and adapt rapidly in the current environment.

It seems likely that the course of this pandemic will involve repeated cycles of outbreaks and containment until a vaccine is available. While there are global efforts to accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine, an effective therapy may not be available for another 12-18 months. Therefore, what is needed right now is a strategic response to this health crisis that considers both near-term and long-term needs.

Accenture has identified three characteristics of a strategic crisis response. This report outlines what healthcare decision makers need to do now and what they need to do next, as part of such a strategic response.

Sensemaking capabilities for a rapid response

  • Develop capabilities to generate shared understandings and coordinated action in conditions that are fast-moving and frightening
  • Recognize that excessive optimism can create blind spots. Adapt the response as new information becomes available

Emphasis on intelligent actions across the system

  • Focus on strengthening supply chain resilience in order to better forecast demand and plan fulfilment
  • Leverage technology-enabled innovations to achieve better healthcare outcomes during the crisis

Embrace open innovation

  • Don’t try solving novel, complex problems alone
  • Enact new ways of innovating and teaming across sector & geographic boundaries: leverage the entire ecosystem

View All

Looking beyond the COVID-19 public health crisis

While many lessons will be learnt from the current crisis, there is an opportunity to harness the pandemic as a catalyst for a deeper, long-term transformation of healthcare systems. This opportunity should not be missed.

Healthcare systems need to become considerably more intelligent, responsive and resilient. Decision makers across governments and businesses need to act to remake the healthcare systems at speed and scale for a modern age. Citizen privacy and trust will be crucial here – acting in a way that shapes and reflects evolving community attitudes to deal with new threats and opportunities.

What’s built must endure both present and future shocks. This will ultimately dictate our ability to save and improve lives now, and in the future.

Contact us

Subscription Center
Stay in the Know with Our Newsletter Stay in the Know with Our Newsletter