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Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) has posed unprecedented healthcare system challenges, some of which will lead to transformative change. It is obvious to healthcare workers and policymakers alike that an effective critical care surge response must be nested within the overall care delivery model. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted key elements of emergency preparedness. These include having national or regional strategic reserves of personal protective equipment, intensive care unit (ICU) devices, consumables and pharmaceuticals, as well as effective supply chains and efficient utilization protocols. ICUs must also be prepared to accommodate surges of patients and ICU staffing models should allow for fluctuations in demand. Pre-existing ICU triage and end-of-life care principles should be established, implemented and updated. Daily workflow processes should be restructured to include remote connection with multidisciplinary healthcare workers and frequent communication with relatives. The pandemic has also demonstrated the benefits of digital transformation and the value of remote monitoring technologies, such as wireless monitoring. Finally, the pandemic has highlighted the value of pre-existing epidemiological registries and agile randomized controlled platform trials in generating fast, reliable data. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that besides our duty to care, we are committed to improve. By meeting these challenges today, we will be able to provide better care to future patients.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00134-021-06352-y

Type

Journal

Intensive care medicine

Publication Date

03/2021

Volume

47

Pages

282 - 291

Addresses

Intensive Care Department, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. arabi@ngha.med.sa.

Keywords

Humans, Monitoring, Physiologic, Critical Care, Telemedicine, Disaster Planning, Intensive Care Units, Surge Capacity, Workflow, Pandemics, Personal Protective Equipment, COVID-19