The COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive societal and economic consequences across OECD countries and beyond, including millions of deaths, reduced life expectancy and long-lasting health impacts. The pandemic has put health systems under extreme stress; they have had to adapt to changing circumstances while continuing to provide high quality health care. Ongoing and future challenges, such as antimicrobial resistance and climate change, also require resilient health systems.
The OECD is providing policy insights and guidance to improve health system resilience.
READY FOR THE NEXT CRISIS? INVESTING IN HEALTH SYSTEM RESILIENCE
Released 23 February 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic had massive consequences for societies and health systems across the OECD and beyond. Health systems were not resilient enough. Resilient health systems plan and are ready for shocks, such as pandemics, economic crises or the effects of climate change. They are able to minimise the negative consequences of crises, recover as quickly as possible, and adapt to become better performing and more prepared. Smart, targeted investments in health system resilience are needed to improve health and ensure the next shock is less disruptive and costly.
WHAT is resilience and why is it important?
Health system resilience is the ability of health systems not only to prepare for shocks, but also to minimise the negative consequences of such disruptions, recover as quickly as possible, and adapt by learning lessons from the experience to become better performing and more prepared. Resilience calls for a multidisciplinary approach, which the OECD has adopted.
The disruption cycle: the four stages of a response over time
Sources: Adapted from OECD (2019), “Resilience-based Strategies and Policies to Address Systemic Risks”, and National Research Council (2012), Disaster resilience: A national imperative.
Discussions between countries, experts and other stakeholders
FINANCING RESILIENT HEALTH SYSTEMS: IS THERE A TRADE-OFF BETWEEN EFFICIENCY AND RESILIENCE?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are looking to build more secure and resilient health systems, to be better prepared for future crises, and mitigate future pandemic related economic costs. However making the best investment decisions, and ensuring finance ministries support, at a time of constrained public expenditure will be very challenging. Closer collaboration between Finance and Health Ministries is needed, including the development of multi-year commitments, to enhance both efficiency and resilience while reducing waste in health systems.
Smart investments in health resilience can protect economies from destabilising shocks, and protect people from premature death. The challenge, which will be a point of discussion during this year’s OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, is to make these necessary investments whilst maintaining the financial sustainability of health systems. This webinar, supported by the NAEC Initiative, discussed how to incorporate such resilience thinking within a comprehensive strategy for high-performing, sustainable health systems.
As countries seek to learn from the COVID-19 crisis and increase their resilience for the future, evaluations are important tools to understand what worked or not, why and for whom.
Note: All-cause mortality data cover up to week 27-2021 for Canada, week 35-2021 for Colombia, and week 47-2021 for Italy and Australia.
Information on data for Israel.
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