Shaping health futures report

Cat Tully writes: We’ve been been working with The Health Foundation for some time now on the futures issues that will shape the way that health is delivered. It’s an exciting project because the Health Foundation is working across the health system, with the system’s stewards, to build the capability to use foresight to create systemic impact.

In our work with foundations, as I discussed in a post on Medium, we’re finding that they are increasingly adopting these system-wide perspectives to frame their interventions.

The Health Foundation’s Chief Executive, Dr Jennifer Dixon, has just posted a piece on their blog on why the work matters. Here’s an extract from that post.

In the NHS strategies are written all the time, looking 3-5 years out, and it would be odd to think that the existing effort couldn’t be made more effective. The strategies developed by the national arms-length bodies in health care all look perfectly respectable, but insofar as they do look at the future, their approaches are highly variable. The time horizons the strategies cover vary, as do the issues discussed, the trends examined and the data sources used. The timing of strategy development by similar bodies is inconsistent, and there is varying reference to each other’s strategies or common resources across government (or other governments). Understandably there is group think.

The less modest response is that health and care is at the centre of some strong external headwinds. Changes in the population, society, the economy, technology, politics, information, the environment and other areas continue to interact in complex ways to affect health and care. We need to join the dots more than we are currently doing. And while the future is complex and uncertain, it is not predetermined. In many areas policy decisions taken (or not taken) today will shape health and care in the future, for better or worse. The sooner we get to grips not just with the known knowns, but the known unknowns and unknown unknowns, and how they all might interact, the better we may be able to shape today’s strategies.

Dr. Dixon goes on to discuss the recent Heath Foundation report, Shaping Health Futures, which looks at how other countries do futures, how the UK has done futures, and introduces their new programme, also called Shaping Health Futures, which will look at ways of improving the use of futures in the health system.

The whole post, which is well worth reading, can be found here.

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