Attributes of a Sustainable Health System

According to the Lecture by Shattuck, the three key attributes of a sustainable health system are Acceptability, Affordability, and Adaptability. Shattuck says that the joint problem of low performance and high healthcare costs are barriers to the implementation of sustainable healthcare systems (Fineberg, 2012). Similarly, poor performance and high healthcare costs are an indication of inefficiencies in the healthcare system.

To ensure healthcare efficiency, sustainability, and optimal functioning, Finberg and Harvey (2012) recommend healthcare practitioners to embrace the following six strategies:

  1. Redoubling efforts to improve the safety and quality of medical care

The authors contend that healthcare practitioners must be motivated and trained to provide quality care (Fineberg, 2012). Stakeholders should offer financial rewards and inducements to appreciate superior performances and implement penalties to avoid future errors or complications.

  1. Meeting patients’ healthcare needs in a cost-effective manner

The purpose of this recommendation is to ensure that patients can function at the highest level possible while at home to avoid the need for them getting admitted or retained in the hospital (Fineberg, 2012). This recommendation also allows patients to be able to access healthcare without being tied down because of finances (Gopee and Galloway, 2017). Affordable access to healthcare ensures the quality of life and disease prevention.

  1. Honor the preferences of patients

This attribute is important because patients have different choices especially during the late stages of illnesses (Fineberg, 2012). It is essential for medical professionals to allow patients to voice their preferences and the medics should in turn respect and adhere to those preferences for the comfort and convenience of the patients.

  1. Using system engineering and operations research

Medical facilities that use system engineering for scheduling and resourcing can be able to save a lot of expenses and cost and in turn, reduce hospital overcrowding, and improve staff performance and satisfaction (Gopee and Galloway, 2017). Employee satisfaction enhances productivity and quality of care.

  1. Use of evidence-based learning

Medical practitioners should practice gathering data and comparing them with existing datasets concerning relevant aspects of patient care.

  1. Professionalism

Lastly, medics should practice medical professionalism which values accountability rather than autonomy (Fineberg, 2012). Professionalism should also support team-based care as well as inter-professional education and have the ability to accept responsibility to serve all patients equally.



Fineberg, H. V. (2012). A successful and sustainable health system—how to get there from here. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(11), 1020-1027. Retrieved from

Gopee, N., & Galloway, J. (2017). Leadership and management in healthcare. Sage.