Tag: Vikram Savkar

How COVID-19 Changed Medical Research 

Vikram Savkar

By Vikram Savkar, vice president and general manager of the medical segment, Wolters Kluwer’s Health Learning, Research and Practice business

The pandemic has shone a critical light on every aspect of the medical ecosystem, revealing which systems were adequate and which were not – in a way that only a global crisis could have done. There has been widespread discussion since the start of the pandemic, concerning changes to public health systems, medical supply chains, medical education, telehealth infrastructure, and more. Less often discussed, but just as disrupted by the pandemic, is medical research communication.

Encompassing peer-reviewed scholarly journals, books, websites, conferences, point-of-care devices, and more, the medical publishing ecosystem is a critical connection point, ensuring that clinicians and healthcare leaders around the world have access to current information about new and emerging treatment approaches.

Looking Beyond the Journal

The pandemic generated needs that went well beyond the comfort zone of this traditional set of tools. Even in the fastest scenario, a journal article once submitted takes months to reach readers and is preceded by additional months of research. This ultimately means that a hypothesis that a clinical researcher is exploring will take half a year or more to progress from concept to readership. In the early months of the pandemic, front-line clinicians could not wait six months to consider therapies for their COVID-19 patients. They needed to act immediately.

In the absence of peer-reviewed research in the early months of the pandemic, clinicians turned to preprint servers, case reports, and even social networks – through which they were able to receive real-time advice from fellow clinicians in other hospitals and other countries on “what was working and what was not.”

Now that a year has passed, there is a substantial body of peer-reviewed, well-established work on COVID-19 in traditional journals, and we can expect to see the global community’s therapeutic and public health approach returning to traditional research-based foundations for the remaining years of pandemic response. But the need that the onset of the pandemic revealed – for much faster and less formal channels of information sharing to sit alongside the more traditional channels – cannot be “put back in the bottle”. The need must be addressed with new systems, new technologies, and new approaches –  so that the global community can be better prepared for future crises.

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How Coronavirus Will Change Medical Schools

By Vikram Savkar, vice president and general manager of the medical segment, Wolters Kluwer’s Health Learning, Research, and Practice business.

Vikram Savkar

The COVID-19 crisis has placed a burden upon every aspect of our society. But nowhere is the burden more immediate and urgent than across the hospital sector. As the number of patients requiring critical care in a short period of time grows into the hundreds of thousands and perhaps beyond, clinicians are confronted with the mission of handling a challenge whose scale far exceeds our standing capacity.

The medical community is rising to that challenge with personal heroism. Every city and town has stories of clinicians who are prepared to work around the clock, despite having inadequate supplies and a high possibility of contracting the very disease that they are treating. If there was ever a time when the average person took their community’s medical infrastructure for granted, that time has now passed.

We will always, those of us who are living through this period, remember the many healthcare professionals and first responders providing COVID-19 care who “ran toward the fire,” as the saying goes, when the rest of us did our part and remained locked away from it. I am hopeful that we will come through this crisis stronger, as the many lessons learned from this pandemic are addressed by health systems, hospitals, and governments.

And in fact the disruptions of COVID-19 at present extend even beyond our hospitals  to every other aspect of the medical world as well, including medical schools. Some of these disruptions are temporary, some long-lasting.

Since my company, Wolters Kluwer, works closely with most of the medical schools in the U.S. as well as in many global markets through our digital and textbook solutions, and we are in daily touch with most of them to help them navigate through this turbulence, we have insight into what these changes may be.

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