Kathleen Van Vlierberghe

With more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry both in Pharma and Medical Devices in marketing and sales, Kathleen is responsible for Boston Scientific’s EMEA Team of Strategic Account Managers and Solutions R&D. She holds a Bachelor degree in Pharmacy and a marketing MBA.

With more than 45 million confirmed cases and more than 1 million deaths at the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in virtually all countries around the world. Beyond grinding day-to-day life to a halt, the ongoing situation has prompted a reckoning throughout the health care industry, which is facing unprecedented challenges to ensure it can provide care, improve quality, and increase patient access, all while keeping its workers safe and balance costs. COVID-19 emphasised key challenges in service management of the elective pathway, and addressing these challenges will require a transformation, as healthcare players adopt to the new normal. In my opinion many hospitals have been struggling in the area of demand and capacity planning to meet waiting time standard – even before COVID-19 turned into a pandemic. In recent months, the pandemic has only turned additional spotlights on the problem, revealing inefficiencies, lack of resources, and capacity management in need of optimisation. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew, waiting lists grew longer and longer, as hospitals operated at reduced capacity to accommodate patients suffering from COVID-19, further increasing the capacity constraints for clinical teams in other parts of the hospital. As a result, the health of patients who had to wait longer for their treatment was negatively affected, and they – understandably – grew anxious and frustrated, as even estimates for how long they would need to wait were hard to come by. As most of the world is looking into a phased return of elective procedures, it is becoming clear that a transformation will be necessary.Personally, I believe that hospitals need to optimise the demand and capacity planning to recover from COVID-19 challenges and sustain the hospital department in the medium- and long term. As there are a multitude of individual configurations,...