Esther Choo says we need to use this moment to resolve inequalities in healthcare

Esther Choo says we need to use this moment to resolve inequalities in healthcare
Image: Courtesy Esther Choo
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It took a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders for 1.5 billion people worldwide, but something is finally occurring to us: The future we thought we expected may not be the one we get.

We know that things will change; how they’ll change is a mystery. To envision a future altered by coronavirus, Quartz asked dozens of experts for their best predictions on how the world will be different in five years.

Below is an answer from Esther Choo, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. As a cofounder of Equity Quotient, which conducts assessments of healthcare company culture, a founding member of TIME’S UP Healthcare, she works to ending racism and sexism in healthcare.

In healthcare, I think we’ll have an expanded mindset over the next five years as we rebuild from the Covid crisis. Our existing healthcare disaster responses are oriented for single, discrete events affecting a city or region. Covid-19 is compelling us to think on a different scale. What do we need to do to prepare for the next global crisis, and one with numerous challenging parameters: high disease transmissibility, high volume of patients, high acuity of disease, and multiple critical resource shortages? We need to change our ideas about readiness, address our sluggish, fragile supply chains, and create physical spaces that better support isolation measures. We’ve also witnessed the tragic inequities of this pandemic. The next five years need to be a time of drastic reengineering of our systems and structures to eliminate health disparities and know that in crisis we have the ability to ensure that resources and care are allocated equitably.

To read more New Normal answers, click here.