• Last updated: Sun, Nov 12, 2023Status: Ongoing
  • Helena Nordenstedt, Emily Maresch, My Fridell, and Anna Mia Ekström

Exploring Health System Resilience of Essential Health Services During COVID-19 in Sweden: A Cross-Regional Analysis within Socioeconomic Context

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound global impact, putting significant strain on health systems worldwide. Resources were redirected to combat the pandemic, leading to disruptions in non-COVID-19 related healthcare services. These disruptions could potentially have long-term health consequences for patients such as delayed and decreased prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases which could possibly lead to a higher mortality and morbidity. During COVID-19, there was an abundance of regular health services that were out-crowded, resulting in interrupted or postponed services, which highlighted the importance of health systems’ ability to withstand such crises – this is also known as health system resilience.

The existing literature around the pandemic has revealed a significant knowledge gap concerning the overall resilience of health systems and the impact on non-COVID-19 related health in high-income countries such as Sweden. This research project will aim to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on non-COVID-19 related health within the Swedish health system, with a particular focus on the continuity of routine health services, their resilience during the pandemic and the recovery post-pandemic.

Using an interrupted time series between the years 2017-2023, we will look at various levels of care within the health system through different indicators. We will explore incidence of diabetes diagnoses over time to understand changes in primary care, visits to the emergency department for appendicitis, as well as number of days in in-patient care due to IBD, and number of cervical and esophageal cancer diagnoses, before, during, and after the pandemic. We plan to investigate these indicators through a socioeconomic status (SES) lens to discover how the pandemic has impacted people differently. Depending on the availability of data we will be comparing the periods before (2017-2019), during (2020-2023) and after the pandemic (2023).

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