What made infection control more difficult during the pandemic? What made it easier? Were hospitals prepared? What must we do to be better prepared? What will the new normal look like for hospitals?

Speakers

Dr Karl Evans Henson, Director, Hospital Infection Control & Epidemiology Center, The Medical City

Prof. Quek Swee Chye, Chairman Medical Board, National University Hospital

Linda Burgoyne, Chief Executive Officer, Matilda International Hospital

Dr Koh Hau Tek, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jiahui Health

Summary

Dealing with COVID-19 has been made more challenging because of the lack of information about the pandemic, especially during the early months of 2020 when information about the infection is still difficult to verify, thus, it is also difficult to disseminate accurate information to patients and staff.

Another critical factor that made infection control prevention difficult is supply chain disruption due to movement restrictions. The panel agrees that supply chain leaders will play a bigger role in the hospital from this pandemic, as hospitals need to find new partners and reconfigure their supply chains to ensure sufficient amount of personal protective equipment is available to healthcare workers.

Still, infection control during the pandemic hinges on a swift response from hospital leaders. Making decisions on the fly, investing in these decisions, and adapting to what is available have been effective. For instance, hospitals fast-tracked their digital transformation journeys to prevent the spread of infection. Contact-tracing applications and teleconsultations are used more widely.

Key Takeaways

  1. We can never be underprepared or over-prepared with a pandemic this huge.
  2. Hospitals need to be more agile and more flexible.
  3. Having an adequate amount of PPE is important in infection control measures.
  4. We have learned from SARS in 2003, and are now better prepared in terms of infection control, specifically handling PPE and protecting our staff.

Like this story? Subscribe for more

More Insights

October 21, 2021
Sunway Medical Centre’s Group ICT Director, William Chau, explains why, despite the hospital’s increased focus on digitalisation, they still have processes in place for their clinicians and staff to revert to paper workflows.
October 14, 2021
The huge surge of COVID-19 cases over the past year meant hospitals needed to create isolation spaces quickly, while ensuring strict infection control. We speak to St Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, on their experience
October 14, 2021
While isolation of infected patients from uninfected ones is crucial in preventing the spread, hospitals often lack isolation space. What can be done to resolve this?