Organizational learning—COVID-19 experience: innovative global practices for improving patient care in crisis response

Muskopf, Jamie H.; Sudan, Nimit; Verdooner, Elise; Nair, Murali D.

Across human history, civilizations have responded to disasters and outbreaks of disease with increasingly complex, systematic approaches as a means of organizing chaos and protecting human life. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic provides a unique opportunity to learn from the practice of disaster management and crisis-driven changes to patient care processes in hospital and emergent care environments worldwide. COVID-19 acts as an accelerant for process change and the need for redesign in systems where classical, linear evaluation methods most often inform carefully implemented service improvements. Strikingly, many innovative approaches and valuable lessons come from all over the globe where technology and access to resources have been most limited. This article answers the question, what can we learn about how to respond to future disasters from the evolution of disaster management as performed by helping professionals and policymakers during the past hundred-plus years and best practices seen today? Macro practitioners have co-created unique approaches within several global communities to help cope with COVID-19 and other disasters despite limited resources and seemingly unlimited needs. Referencing existing case studies of patient care responses during COVID-19 in Italy, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States, the authors document innovative practices and use of diverse technologies in local patient care systems. The article concludes by suggesting best practices for designing more robust, adaptive, and crisis ready responses to patient care, as well as the use of developmental evaluation as an agile approach to evaluating and improving patient services. It also suggests roles that helping professionals can play in the translation of big data systems of disaster management from organizations such as the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and selected think tanks, among others.


Also Published In

Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy

More About This Work

Academic Units
School of Professional Studies
Social Work
Published Here
July 1, 2021


COVID-19; disaster management; innovation; developmental evaluation; organizational learning