Chair of the ACI Board, Professor Brian McCaughan, AM reflects on our responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As somewhat of a sceptic with respect to “agility” in the workplace, including open plan offices, hot-desking and working remotely, it has been an eye opener to see the staff of ACI adapt so rapidly and successfully in the face of the COVID pandemic.
Suddenly working from home became the normal with Skyping, Zooming, Teaming (“can you hear me now?”) dominating our daily lives. It is hard to believe that there will ever be a full return to working on site, despite the brand-new facility at 1 Reserve Road (which is patently, open plan on steroids).
I have been so impressed by the agility of ACI staff at all levels of the organisation to refocus their efforts during the early days of the pandemic. Much routine work was “hibernated” as members of staff were deployed where needed, often in organisations outside of ACI where their work proved invaluable. Similarly, those involved with Jean-Frederic’s Critical Intelligence Unit provided critical evidence-based information to advise the Ministry and local health districts on implementation of priorities for the COVID response across the state.
Many ACI staff were instrumental in the success of the multitude of communities of practice that were established, again providing broad clinician engagement to advise the way forward in particular clinical specialities. The communities of practice soon learnt that the processes that had previously frustrated their determinations were able to be rapidly facilitated in this crisis mode and be implemented in a timely fashion. This is certainly a lesion for the post-COVID period.
One very important area (among many) is that of virtual care and there appears little doubt that we will see the rise and rise of virtual care in the post-COVID environment as, clearly there are major advantages for patients and carers (as well as providers).
On behalf of the Board, I congratulate the staff of the ACI for their dedication and commitment in providing all the necessary support at all levels in NSW Health throughout the pandemic.
Let us learn the lessons of the crisis period and enhance ACI’s responsiveness and functioning post-COVID.
Professor Brian McCaughan, AM
Chair of the Board, Agency for the Clinical Innovation