Insights

Vital Signs

How to deliver better healthcare across Europe

With many more people living longer but developing multiple, complex long-term conditions, it has become more important than ever to ensure health systems are fit for future. So how well are health systems across Europe meeting this challenge?

New research from the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions explores the performance of six European countries and how they are tackling the health and care challenges they face. The report compares these health systems through the lens of seven ‘Vital Signs’ which are reflective of the whole patient journey.

We believe that by focussing on these vital signs and learning from the best practice of others, leaders across the healthcare setting can work towards making their goods and services fit for the future, and ultimately, delivering better healthcare for everyone.

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How to deliver better health care across Europe

What are the seven vital signs?

  1. Prevention and health promotion
  2. Primary care
  3. Productive hospitals
  4. Patient engagement and empowerment
  5. Palliative and end-of-life care
  6. Population Health Management
  7. Partnerships between industry, providers and academia
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Prevention and health promotion

Lifestyle factors including diet and exercise play an increasingly central role in public health and wellbeing.

Significant investments should be made in prevention methods, such as vaccination programmes and disease screening. Utilising digital health technologies can also help to improve health system efficiencies whilst reducing inequalities.

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Primary care

Increasing demand from complex, co-morbid patients, and a shift in delivering that care closer to home means that the existing model of primary care is no longer fit for purpose. Primary care staff must adopt more collaborative working practices, both within the health system and in the wider community. In addition, there is a need for business models to integrate more innovative technologies to help drive efficiencies and improve patient care.

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Productivity in hospitals

Hospital care makes up the largest proportion of healthcare spend in the majority of health systems. However, international studies estimate that around 30% of that spend is either inappropriate or unnecessary. Improving productivity must therefore be a key focus across European healthcare systems.

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Palliative and end-of-life care

How a country cares for their dying is a litmus test of a good health system. With a rise in ageing populations and more people developing serious chronic diseases, access to good palliative and end-of-life care is ever more important. However, few healthcare systems are suitably equipped to meet the needs of the patient and their family.

To provide more effective end-of-life treatment, healthcare systems must adopt comprehensive strategies with an agreed set of outcome measures. There is also a need to improve the knowledge and confidence of staff to enable them to hold meaningful end-of-life care discussions.

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Patient engagement and empowerment

There are significant advantages to be gained by empowering patients to engage with decisions around their own healthcare. Patient engagement not only contributes to the achievement of a sustainable and cost effective healthcare system, it also improves the outcomes of the patients themselves.

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Population Health Management

This term is increasingly used in healthcare and yet is still not universally understood. We consider it a ‘must do’ if people across Europe are to enjoy equitable and sustainable healthcare. Delivery of a good Population Health Management strategy requires a shift in focus to encourage more collaborative working, sharing responsibility for that population’s health across relevant organisations and communities.

Innovative use of technology has a significant role to play in analysing patient data and population behaviours.

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Partnerships between industry, providers and academia

Cross-industry partnerships can help foster excellence in areas such as basic research and innovation, leading to the development of new drugs and treatments.

By encouraging a collaborative environment, whether through government investment or the presence of a strong research infrastructure, we believe healthcare systems can provide better outcomes for patients and national health economies.

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