Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Health systems are under more pressure than ever before, and the challenges are multiplying and accelerating. Economic forces, new technology, genomics, AI in medicine, increasing demands for care-all are playing a part, or are predicted to increasingly do so. Above all, ageing populations in many parts of the world are exacerbating the disease burden on the system and intensifying the requirements to provide effective care equitably to citizens. In this first of two companion articles on behalf of the Innovation and Systems Change Working Group of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), in consultation with representatives from over 40 countries, we assess this situation and discuss the implications for safety and quality. Health systems will need to run ahead of the coming changes and learn how to cope better with more people with more chronic and acute illnesses needing care. This will require collective ingenuity, and a deep desire to reconfigure healthcare and re-engineer services. Chief amongst the successful strategies, we argue, will be preventative approaches targeting both physical and psychological health, paying attention to the determinants of health, keeping people at home longer, experimenting with new governance and financial models, creating novel incentives, upskilling workforces to fit them for the future, redesigning care teams and transitioning from a system delivering episodic care to one that looks after people across the life cycle. There are opportunities for the international community to learn together to revitalise their health systems in a time of change and upheaval.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Qual Health Care

Publication Date





154 - 158


ageing population, elderly, health system reform, massive ageing, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Chronic Disease, Delivery of Health Care, Health Care Reform, Humans, Mental Health, Patient Safety, Quality of Health Care