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Call to action for the BMJ Innovations community after COVID-19
  1. Ashley McKimm
  1. BMJ, London WC1H 9JP, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ashley McKimm, BMJ, London WC1H 9JP, UK; amckimm{at}

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2020 was perhaps the most challenging year that many of us who work in healthcare will face in our lifetimes. As we pass the grim milestone of 1.5 million recorded deaths from COVID-19 this month, we are finally starting to see early progress towards a more normal 2021.

Alongside the human and economic devastation of this pandemic, we also know that global disasters on the scale of COVID-19 bring a huge imperative for innovation.1 Like past pandemics, we are likely to see these new innovations continue to make a lasting impact on health long after we have brought this global health crisis under control.

This is not new. Since the first documented pandemic in 541 AD, almost all have precipitated a stepwise jump in healthcare innovation. The third Cholera pandemic of the mid-1800s was defined by the birth of epidemiology. The Spanish Flu of 1919 gave …

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  • Twitter @ashleymckimm

  • Contributors Editorial was solely authored by AM.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Innovations and full-time employee of BMJ Publishing Group Ltd

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.