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A Journey to Pathology 3.0: The Immediate Management Choices

The strategic conversations about the post #COVID19 #healthcare sector and #pathology and #laboratorymedicine will need to take into account the emerging new environment. Hopefully, the impact of the #pandemic will more resemble “refresh” than “Ctrl-Alt-Del”.

As with every crisis, many emergency fixes will become or will be expected to become a permanent fixture. For example, after gaining unconscious competence with video conferencing, we are likely to cut our dependence on face-to-face meetings.

I am an optimist and see the shoots of creative disruption and transformation emerging out of grass-root ideas born out of necessity. It is becoming apparent that the pathology and laboratory medicine of the future will develop on an axis of “open”, “networked” and “integrated”, rather than “closed”, “tribal” and “fragmented”. 

However, I see that there will be some challenges with putting things in motion. Not the least because laboratory professionals strive for perfectionism and usually have low-tolerance of uncertainty. As WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan eloquently put about the management of crisis “if we need to be right before we move, we will never win”. 

I believe that an “analysis-paralysis” syndrome may be a threat to transformation. The most immediate questions will probably be whether its more important to restore what we stopped or transform what we do and what to keep and what to discard? It is a laudable management question –not addressing the strategic design- but requires answers and tools to help.

Usually, a good-old two-by-two decision-making matrix can do the trick– I always have in mind the time matrix from the Stephen Covey’s bestseller as a template – can do the trick.

We will need to decide which of the established activities that we have stopped during the

pandemic we want to reintroduce. As during ‘spring cleaning’, we should use this opportunity to decide what we do not need or is wasteful in its broader sense and simply, do not reintroduce it. Some of these activities we should have probably stopped doing a long ago, but we never got around to do it. The newly introduced fixes and solutions could also fit into two categories, those that are useful and that we wish to keep as the features of the forthcoming transformation and those that were just sticky plasters or dead ends. 

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