Poor healthcare kills 8 million people a year

Between 5.7 million and 8.4 million people die each year in low- and middle-income countries from poor quality of care, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found. 

The finding indicates lapses in care quality cause 10 percent to 15 percent of the total deaths in these countries.

The report authors urge health ministries worldwide to change healthcare design in several different areas, including embracing digital technologies to deliver care directly to where people are and focusing on areas where patients face significant adversity.

"Even if the current movement toward universal health coverage succeeds, billions of people will have access to care of such low quality that it will not help them, and often will harm them," said Don Berwick, MD, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report.

The committee recommends a healthcare system that adopts systems thinking and principles of human-centered design and human factors. 

Specific design principles should include full transparency; co-design with patients, staff and communities; care that is anticipatory and predictive rather than reactive; care that reflects societal values; and care that bases decisions on clear evidence, continuous feedback and learning. 

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