Jean-Frédéric Levesque, Chief Executive of the Agency for Clinical Innovation, explains how we have responded to the urgent needs of the pandemic, and how this will have a positive impact on digital health moving forward.
Welcome to this special edition of Clinician Connect, which highlights the collaboration and clinical leadership that has driven our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You will have noticed that we paused Clinician Connect this year to focus on supporting the information needs of the health sector during the pandemic. However, Clinician Connect remains an important way for the ACI to keep you informed, engaged and connected with the important work occurring across the system.
We are living through uncertain times. The social and health system’s reactions to the pandemic have forced us to change our behaviours and reconsider what the future could be. As an organisation, the ACI has changed its behaviour and is participating in many discussions around how we will work in the future.
We are an organisation focused on mobilising clinicians to reflect on clinical care, develop the required guidance, and envision new ways to deliver services. The pandemic has forced activities to be stalled and efforts to be redirected towards the rapid re-organisation of various components of the system. Intensive care models have changed to allow for surge. Clinical models have shifted to teleconsultation. Outpatient services and elective surgery were paused to allow the system to respond.
During this time, the ACI focused on supporting the direct response to COVID-19. We have done this by supporting communities of practice, developing a kindness movement website to support frontline staff wellbeing, accelerating virtual care support and leading the establishment of a critical intelligence unit. I am proud that the ACI mobilised itself with creativity and dynamic energy.
The ACI has responded to the urgent needs prompted by the pandemic, demonstrating the organisation’s agility and change expertise. The ACI hibernated much of its work to dedicate resources to the COVID response. Our network managers embraced a good practice guide to temporarily stand-down projects so that clinicians across the state were able to focus on supporting the local response to the pandemic. Many of those projects are now waking up and networks are re-engaging and looking at opportunities to revise the scope, future possibilities and vision for work.
Internationally and within NSW, there are voices strongly advocating for key changes to make a new normal. With a new normal comes new opportunity. We need to consider the ways we are organising care in the physical environment to make sure that the digital solutions fit seamlessly and make a difference for patients and clinicians providing care.
For the foreseeable future, everything at the ACI can have a positive impact on digital health: models of care, co-design and re-design efforts.
Our models need to ensure they support both face-to-face and virtual approaches. Virtual care, the patient-reported measures program, and giving information back to clinicians to enable better adoption of guidelines, redesign and other ways to change clinical behaviour are important priorities for the ACI. COVID-19 is pushing us into this at a faster rate but there is still a lot to accomplish to transform care and not resort back to how things were.