The imposition of worldwide lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19 pandemic was the first-ever incidence of its kind in human history.
However, during the lockdown, we got the opportunity to witness glimpses of quality improvement in our surroundings and lifestyle.
The first discernible glimpse of quality improvement noted by everyone was definitely in the traffic. During lockdown most of the people were at their homes, vehicular movement was at a standstill and pollution was at its lowest limit. The same city which used to be congested and disorganized was looking poised, disciplined and perfect. Commuting without traffic jams was a blessing. Indian cities looked no less than any developed city.
So if we could apply quality improvement methods to control our population and to imbibe traffic rules and regulations in our denizens then we will be able to cherish the beauty of our country forever and not only at the cost of such dreadful pandemic.
Secondly, we caught a glimpse of quality improvement during the lockdown in the public healthcare system. The government appealed to the denizens to visit hospitals only in emergency conditions. This resulted in a limited number of patients visiting hospitals in comparison to days before the pandemic. It was observed that in most of the government hospitals the doctor-patient ratio suddenly became appropriate as per recommendations. Undoubtedly the satisfaction rate rose very high amongst the healthcare professionals for providing the same level of services to the patients during this period. At the same time, the satisfaction level of patients also increased. They were more satisfied with the current healthcare services and the much clean, uncrowded, organised, comfortable environment of the hospitals. Some old patients were totally surprised by this rejuvenation of government hospitals during the lockdown period.
So if it is possible to limit the number of patients by any means like by empowering referral and linkage system, increasing number of healthcare facilities and healthcare providers, spreading awareness among patients about referral linkages, every healthcare professional would definitely deliver a better quality of care in comparison to what they are delivering right now in the resource-limited settings.
Thirdly, people accepted the role of alternative medicine and the importance of improving daily habits to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. They learnt good personal and social hygiene practices. They also realized that improvement is not an individual process instead it is a collective process. Because wearing a mask and adhering to good personal and social hygiene practices by others are equally important.
Lastly, at an individual level, we self-inspected ourselves and realized the scope of improvement in our interpersonal relationships and mutual participation. We appreciated the need for discipline at home and in society. Everyone came forward to help the needy in even the simplest manner.
Thus this pandemic portrayed a beautiful picture of our society and country along with some really unfortunate and tragic incidences.
But all these positive impacts of lockdown were very transient. They disappeared very quickly as the process of unlocking was carried out. Everything again came back to its usual track leaving behind only the imprints of some pleasant memories of lockdown on our mind and soul.
Hence, the role of quality improvement methodology comes again. This is very important to learn new practices and to inculcate them into daily habits to sustain the changes.
Covid-19 pandemic opened the door for innovations, change ideas and new opportunities as well. New change ideas should always be addressed and implemented wherever applicable.
So, if we wish to grow as a nation, inculcation of quality improvement strategies are important not only for the healthcare system but also for every possible field including our daily chores and lifestyle. The knowledge of quality improvement methodology should be applied for the holistic improvement of the humankind, our society and our nation.
"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster
Dr Prabha Kumari Ranjan Consultant OBGYN Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, Pitampura Delhi firstname.lastname@example.org