The COVID-19 pandemic has put human resources under a huge challenge. Healthcare workers are facing mental health issues, burnout, discrimination, violence, issues with personal protection and safety, sexism, racism, shortage of resources and much more. Patients infected with COVID-19 are suffering from severe illness and helplessness. Normal citizens are facing a continuous fear of disease, social isolation, stress and anxiety. At the same time, the acceptance for digitally supported work with the patients is rising - concerning ehealth, eVisits, Robots or Artificial Intelligence in decision support. Will COVID-19 push us towards augmented and hybrid intelligence? Let us stay aware: human matters are and must stay in the driver's seat - supported by digital health.
In this issue, our contributors explore all matters related to human beings. In particular, they address the challenges people are facing as the pandemic continues. This issue is about healthcare workers, patients, families, caregivers and marginalised communities. It’s about the struggle all of us are going through during these tough times.
Erik Van der Eycken discusses e-mental health solutions and how they facilitate the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Prof Geraldine McGinty talks about policies that contribute to health equity and solutions to ensure treatment decisions are free from bias and discrimination.
Prof Habeebul Rahman and Dominic Tung Kuan San discuss staff wellbeing and how a three-pillar approach – care, protection and wellness – could ensure wellbeing at work. Prof Caterina Corbascio and Prof Gianni Tognoni highlight that mental health is a neglected area of medicine and how innovative, diffuse and long-term research could help change deeply rooted paradigms of care.
Prof Stefan Heinemann discusses Artificial Intelligence and the need for expert ethical evaluation of new technologies to ensure true benefits are reaped from the implementation of AI and data-driven care. Dr Sara Saeed Khurram and Dr Iffat Zafar Aga address the lack of female participation in the healthcare labour force in third-world countries and how the social phenomenon of doctor brides could be addressed to ensure female health professionals get equal opportunities to contribute and grow professionally.
Begoña San Jose highlights that healthcare should not be limited to physical health, but social and mental wellbeing should also be considered, and healthcare systems should be holistic so that humans not only survive but thrive. Prof Héctor González-Jiménez explores the ‘human’ dimension of the robotics deployment in a healthcare setting and the need for a smooth integration of the technology.
In the Management Matters section, Prof Generosa do Nascimento and Dr Alzira Duarte discuss people management and how the use of the Strategic Management of People model could prepare healthcare organisations to succeed and improve the delivery of care. Prof Davide Caramella discusses a physician’s journey and how retirement can be a complex transition for many.
In the Winning Practices section, Marie Paldam Folker, Søren Lange Nielsen and Mette Atipei Craggs discuss the potential of digital mental healthcare and how it can improve access, flexibility and cross-sectoral collaboration into mental healthcare provision.
We hope you will enjoy this issue. As always, your feedback is welcome.