I’m thrilled to be a member of the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era. Judging by the contents of the discussion during the inception event and the first round of meetings, the Commission is bound to generate a great, positive shake-up on the way we talk about and act upon universal health coverage. In low and middle-income countries, quality has been the missing dimension of the universal coverage framework. While adequate financing for health is an absolute necessity, pouring money into health systems is not, by far, a guarantee of quality and performance, especially from the point of view of those who matter the most: the users of health services.
One of the key innovations advanced by the Commission is a focus on quality from the perspective of the user and on the experience of care. During our discussions, we invested considerable energy to make sure that the patients are at the center of the measurement of quality and of the strategies to improve it. Another interesting part of the conversation was that once you start being rigorous about quality improvement, an interdisciplinary approach is required. For example, there is a lot to learn from how industrial engineering optimizes complex processes and how educational organizations measure and improve quality. We had an excellent start and the conversation on quality keeps heating up!