Scientometric Analysis and Scoping Review on Healthcare Systems’ Sustainability during the COVID-19 Pandemic

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Naturresurser och hållbar utveckling

Abstract: Background: The COVID-19 pandemic calls attention to the importance of sustainable healthcare systems. Frail healthcare systems can become overwhelmed during public health crises, further exacerbating the human, economic, and political toll. Significant work has been done to describe the general attribute of sustainability and resilience in healthcare systems during crises. The next step would be to identify the research domains that has been highlighted during COVID-19 pandemic in order to reflect and achieve further sustainability in healthcare systems.  Methods: A scoping review of the literature was conducted to identify recurring themes, research domains and capacities needed to maintain healthcare systems’ sustainability in COVID-19 outbreak. Until 13 December 2020, six electronic databases were searched using specific keywords such as ‘sustainability,’ ‘resilience,’ and ‘surge capacity’ in ‘healthcare systems.’ Peer-reviewed articles went through a scientometric analysis mapping research fields, domains, study destinations and keywords.  Results: 104 studies met the inclusion criteria – majority (75%) focused on medical research followed by interdisciplinary (12%), social science (5%), and environment studies (5%). Originally identified domains of healthcare systems’ sustainability research included ‘capacity calculation,’ ‘telehealth,’ ‘environment,’ ‘inequity,’ ‘data,’ ‘holistic nexus planning,’ ‘social & environmental risk factor,’ ‘transport connectivity,’ and ‘vulnerability.’  Conclusion: This scoping review represents a systematic assessment of the research domains of healthcare systems’ sustainability during COVID-19 pandemic. Further refined and broadened sustainability framework is required so that healthcare systems can simultaneously achieve sustainable transformations in healthcare practice and health service delivery as well as improve their preparedness for emergencies. 

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