“It ain’t over … . till it’s over!” Risk‐mitigation strategies for patients with gastrointestinal diseases in the aftermath of the COVID‐19 pandemic
Holtmann, Gerald et al.
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The available COVID‐19 literature has focussed on specific disease manifestations, infection control, and delivery or prioritisation of services for specific patient groups in the setting of the acute COVID‐19 pandemic. Local health systems aim to contain the COVID‐19 pandemic and hospitals and health care providers rush to provide the capacity for a surge of COVID‐19 patients. However, the short, medium‐ and long‐term outcomes of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) diseases without COVID‐19 will be affected by the ability to develop locally adapted strategies to meet their service needs in the COVID‐19 setting. To mitigate risks for patients with GI diseases, it is useful to differentiate three phases: 1) the acute phase, 2) the adaptation phase and 3) the consolidation phase. During the acute phase, service delivery for patients with GI disease will be curtailed to meet competing health care needs of COVID‐19 patients. During the adaptation phase, GI‐services are calibrated towards a ‘new normal’ and the consolidation phase is characterised by rapid introduction and ongoing refinement of services. Proactive planning with engagement of relevant stakeholders including consumer representatives is required to be prepared for a variety of scenarios that are dictated by thus far undefined long‐term economic and societal impacts of the pandemic. Since substantial changes ‐to the delivery of services are likely to occur, it is important that these changes are embedded into quality and research frameworks to ensure that data are generated that support evidence‐based decision‐making during the adaptation and consolidation phases.