Strengthening Health Systems

A Practical Handbook for Resilience Testing

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the critical need for health systems to be resilient against major disruptions. Despite the significant impact that crises such as pandemics, climate change effects, geopolitical conflicts, financial collapses or digital failures can have on economies and societies, policy makers in the health sector lack tools to test how their health systems would cope with extreme stress. Seizing a narrowing policy window in a post-pandemic context, the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, with support from the European Commission, developed a comprehensive methodology culminating in a handbook on "Strengthening Health Systems: A Practical Handbook for Resilience Testing." Inspired by stress tests in various sectors, this methodology was piloted in Finland, Greece, and Spain throughout 2023. The handbook provides health policy makers with tools to assess and enhance their systems' resilience. This is intended to foster policy dialogues and the identification of structural weaknesses as the starting point for targeted investments and remedial policies that will allow health systems to withstand the impact of future shocks more effectively.

Published on March 19, 2024