Heath care priority management post-COVID-19

The pandemic has shone a light on the need for decision-making tools and public input to support health-care resource allocation.

Deciding which patients to treat and when were among the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With limited resources and staff available to care for patients, health care decision-makers were faced with an unprecedented situation in which patients and health-care resources needed to be allocated based on ever-evolving rules and guidelines. 

In his study, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) researcher Dr. Craig Mitton examined how to balance economic and public health priorities following the early and more uncertain stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published in the journal Healthcare Management Forum, Mitton’s study highlights the utility of formal priority-setting tools to aid decision-makers with allocating resources. 

In the wake of substantial spending during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of economic debt in Canada and a backlog in care for certain procedures, such as elective surgeries, the approach proposed in his research could clarify the decision-making process and enhance its transparency, Mitton says. The fact that decision-makers chose to preserve hospital capacity by cancelling elective surgeries had real and detrimental impacts on patient well-being and outcomes, he adds. 

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