A lesson from the pandemic: barriers to change may disappear in times of need
Starting in 2018, in response to growing demand for reliable data to support the shift to evidence-based healthcare, the FutureProofing Healthcare initiative was conceived as an important catalyst and driver for data and science-driven decision-making with the ultimate goal of ensuring future-proofed health. FutureProofing Healthcare’s panel of experts worked alongside Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies (CIFS) to develop a Personalised Health Index (PHI) a tool to share easy-to-understand data, drive evidence-based decision-making, and support the standardisation and strengthening of healthcare systems.
While indexes typically look backwards, telling you how things have been, this first-of-its-kind resource adopted a fresh approach measuring the current status of health systems bringing together in one place the most up-to-date public data so that health systems, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and patients can easily understand a country’s progression in the journey to sustainable healthcare. The Personalised Health Index not only aggregates data and provides current and future-oriented snapshots of health systems, but it also aims to support future-oriented thinking to enable new technologies and build a common base of knowledge for enabling more concerted decision-making and action. Ultimately, the Index is a shared point of reference for all kinds of stakeholders and citizens that fosters collaboration within and between disciplines and, perhaps most importantly, across borders. At the same time, the Personalised Health Index should support higher levels of societal and technological readiness for the future of health.
Regional Indexes informed by local stakeholders, local experts and local data
Since October 2020, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America have launched their Personalised Health Indexes and a Sustainability Index for Africa also launched in March 2021. These Indexes are being developed using regional data and local experts – including representatives from patient organisations, health systems, think tanks, and academia and aligned with a framework used by the World Health Organization.
Each Index is made up of a series of regionally appropriate measures split across four categories, or Vital Signs: Health Information, Health Services, Personalised Technologies, and Policy Context. Measures are based on a broader set of 17 Building Blocks, or key policies, which provide a model of the optimal ecosystem for personalised and digital healthcare. So, Building Blocks detail the desired end state required for a personalised healthcare ecosystem, while the measures provide a snapshot of a country’s trajectory towards achieving this.
All data are publicly available, credible and reliable, for example from The World Bank, World Economic Forum, Eurostat, and bolstered with input from local public health authority representatives. Read here for more on how data were selected, measured, weighted, and assessed.
The value of these Indexes for public health decision-making
As healthcare evolves from a one-size-fits-all approach to precision public health interventions and personalised treatments, these Indexes are helping to drive discussions with health and policy decision-makers to inform solutions. Whilst challenging for some countries lacking data, insights, or health literacy these Indexes can enable them to learn from best practice and inspire the delivery of data-driven personalised healthcare.
However, Indexes cannot remain static. They must continuously evolve if they are to benefit society. Since launching in Europe and Asia Pacific we’ve seen huge changes to healthcare delivery in response to COVID. So please, if you are committed to building more equitable, efficient, and future-proofed health systems, take a moment to explore the Index and if you are interested in contributing to future iterations of the Index, tell us. With your help we can address gaps in society, work together towards making healthcare more equitable and fairer.