Health in the 21st Century

Putting Data to Work for Stronger Health Systems

image of Health in the 21st Century

This report explores how data and digital technology can help achieve policy objectives and drive positive transformation in the health sector while managing new risks such as privacy, equity and implementation costs. It examines the following topics: improving service delivery models; empowering people to take an active role in their health and their care; improving public health; managing biomedical technologies; enabling better collaboration across borders; and improving health system governance and stewardship. It also examines how health workforces should be equipped to make the most of digital technology. The report contains findings from surveys of OECD countries and shares a range of examples that illustrate the potential benefits as well as challenges of the digital transformation in the health sector. Findings and recommendations are relevant for policymakers, health care providers, payers, industry as well as patients, citizens and civil society.


The informed patient

An informed and engaged patient is critical to creating a people-centred, sustainable health system. Across the OECD, patients are increasingly turning to new technologies to gather health information, using tools from both within and outside the health system. Physician consultations and electronic health records are far from the only sources of information for patients today. Patient engagement with new technologies is increasingly driven by tools outside traditional health data, with patients increasingly consulting the internet and using new health technologies to monitor and engage with their own health. These developments bring both significant opportunities and challenges for individuals and the health system more broadly. This chapter reviews how health systems users are interacting with new digital tools to engage in their own health, and how health systems are responding to these new developments to facilitate access to information and improve health and digital literacy for patients.


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