The sustainability of the European health care sector is challenged by 6 mega trends, namely:
The trend towards an ageing population in Europe increases the demand for health care services as well as the complexity of patient care needs. With the working-age population on the decline by comparison, there will be fewer health professionals and less public funding to supply high-quality care that can meet these needs.
The growing importance of chronic disease and co-morbidity in patient care settings is related both to demographic trends and to lifestyle factors such as sedentary routines and unhealthy dietary habits.
The Information Technology Revolution and general digitalisation of society, which is related to the introduction, adoption and uptake of health care technologies, the use of big data and artificial intelligence, wearables and mobile devices for monitoring and data collection.
There is an ongoing transition from technology to biology, as new innovations have led to an increased uptake of microbiological treatments. Continued advancements in genetic engineering and biotechnologies will shape the future of personalized care and prevention strategies, requiring new approaches to skills development within the health care sector.
Patients are becoming more active participants in their own lifelong health journeys through more active involvement in care plans, increased emphasis on personal responsibility and self-monitoring, and closer engagement with health care professionals. The modern health consumer has unprecedented access to health information and the ability to consistently improve their health literacy, and health and care professionals need to be supported so that they can meet increasing patient expectations for dynamic, high-quality, patient-centered care.
The health and care sector must play an active role in addressing the climate challenge. The successful implementation of sustainable procurement and resource-use strategies to reduceenergy, water, chemical and plastic use will rely on a well-trained, modern health and care workforce.