Coping with more people with more illness. Part 1: the nature of the challenge and the implications for safety and quality

René Amalberti, Charles Vincent, Wendy Nicklin, Jeffrey Braithwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


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 languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • ageing population
  • elderly
  • health system reform
  • massive ageing

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