Among the many lessons the health sectors should have learnt from the unexpected impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been the importance of the use of appropriate levels of care and the resulting costs benefits to be derived.

A good example presented during this week’s Omnia Health conference webinar entitled “UHC plans ‘pie in the sky’? – How the COVID-19 pandemic is shedding light on the best strategy for NHI” was the notable drop in Caesarean section (CS) procedures.

“We have seen a drop from 70% to 50% of births by CS since the beginning of COVID,” Rachaad Omar, an associate director at Deloitte, told his virtual audience.

During this period, he noted, pregnant women had a fear of hospital stays and many used midwives for normal births.

“I think the future of health care must see a behavioural change. Consumers,” he said, “must become the centre of the healthcare spectrum, must drive outcomes and the transparency they require from their providers.

“We should centre our resources around what the consumer wants in terms of the right level of service transparency and products.”

The future, he concluded, was more about sustaining wellbeing rather than caring for people: “Make sure they stay healthy, prevent them from going to hospital, and ensure the appropriate levels of care are exercised.

“This will reduce costs overall.”