In a new COVID-19 world, reimagining better health systems is more important than ever

Rapid innovations in digital technology, data and our understanding of human biology, have transformed the way we think about health. But countries around the globe have struggled to make the most of these advances, and at the same time, deliver modern health care to growing - and in many cases ageing - populations.

That challenge has been thrown into stark relief by the emergence of COVID-19.  Countries around the world have fought to slow the progress of the disease so that their healthcare systems can cope. Never before has it been so important to make health systems robust and ready for the future, harnessing all the innovation and ingenuity we have at our disposal. Never before has it been so important to reimagine health systems. 

It wonโ€™t be possible to rebuild health systems without radical change, without unleashing the potential of the scientific and technological breakthroughs we see every day.  That means healthcare must become more digital and more personalised than ever, with systems built upon evidence and data-driven analysis and decision-making.  

Our understanding of genomics, and our ability to analyse huge amounts of data using digital technology, enable us to understand how disease affects each person.  But from a public health perspective, this understanding can also help us to identify patterns of illness across populations and societies.  Knowing why and how people get sick will help us to do a better job of keeping them well.  If fewer people need treatment, that frees up scarce resources to better manage public health.  Health systems will be able to tackle challenges like increasing rates of cancer or dementia, and be better equipped to manage any future crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Reimagining health systems is a technical challenge, but it has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people across the world by making healthcare more personal, more integrated, and more human. It should enable people to lead healthier, happier, longer lives, and enable scientific breakthroughs that will transform society for the better.

Futureproofing healthcare to ensure our health systems are resilient and sustainable in the long-term will deliver more than just preparedness against the next global health crisis - be that another pandemic, or climate change.  Futureproofing our health systems should accelerate progress towards some of our most cherished goals as a society, like achieving universal health coverage (access to quality healthcare services, essential medicines and vaccines for everyone) by 2030, or building a sustainable, innovative economy for the future. 

The FutureProofing Healthcare initiative brings together experts from across the world to share data, evidence and insights. This community aims to accelerate our progress towards healthcare of the future by tracking and encouraging the evolution of these systems.  We draw on the lessons of the recent past and look to the needs of the future, sharing best practice from around the world.   

This is the foundation of FutureProofing Healthcare: A programme where decisions in healthcare are driven by evidence, and an understanding of what works for real patients, professionals and people.  A broad coalition, which not only encourages and supports change, but helps the healthcare community to track and measure progress towards more sustainable, personalised, integrated and digital health systems.  We want to help countries to learn from each other, avoid the mistakes of the past, and create truly optimised and sustainable systems that deliver better health care for all.

The first episode in our webinar series exploring the impact of COVID-19 on our health systems takes place on May 8th 10:00 CET / 16:00 SGT, chaired by Denis Horgan, European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) and Dr Jeremy Lim, National University of Singapore.
To register and join the conversation please visit

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