Ten Problems for Healthcare in the 2020s

Healthcare Problems for the 2020s

At least half of the world’s population does not have full coverage of essential health services. Health expenses push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty each and every year. Achieving universal health coverage and guaranteeing that everyone has access to quality, essential health services are pivotal steps to ensuring that every individual enjoys their fundamental human rights [1]. Universal health coverage must be seen for what it is: a powerful instrument to achieve not only the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health but the entirety of the 2030 Agenda.

Health-system pharmacy leaders face a wide range of challenges, from serving the needs of an increasing number of patients with fewer and fewer resources, to meeting the needs of staff who are expected to work harder, in the face of increasing complexity of care, to struggling to point their departments in a direction that will lead to success while navigating endless change [2]. All of these challenges are made more acute in the absence of a robust, deliberately developed and maintained strategic plan. Leaders are forced to react rather than thoughtfully respond to each new challenge, without the benefit of a guide making the best course clear.

Technological innovations are accelerating disruption in consumer wellness and healthcare. Today’s biggest trends in the healthcare industry are dominated by the concept of preventive and personalized care, with an increasing number of sector stakeholders aiming to deliver this through smart technology (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, and advanced data processing) and client-centered solutions [3]. The global digital health market was predicted to grow to US$ 206 billion by the end of 2020.

Researchers estimate the number of people who will die with serious health-related suffering is projected to increase by approximately 87% by the year 2060. Palliative care is the discipline devoted entirely to preventing and relieving serious health-related suffering. The World Health Organization has called for the universal accessibility of palliative care at all levels of health care and in the home because palliative care is an indispensable component of universal health coverage [4]. The skill set, experience, and perspectives of nurses are crucial to optimum palliative care policy development and service implementation.

Investment policies make an important contribution in tackling the devastating economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support measures include, in particular, the speeding up of investment approval procedures, the accelerated use of online tools and e-platforms, COVID-19-related services of investment promotion agencies (IPAs), incentive schemes for health-related R&D, medical supplies, the acquisition by states of equity in struggling domestic key companies as well as state loans and guarantees for domestic suppliers in value chains [5].

Starting from such general references, this booklet identifies ten relevant areas from very recent contributions put forward at academic level in the form journal articles, conference proceedings and students’ theses. Ten freely accessible internet references have been selected for each area and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our selected references do not intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, diverse and scientifically-sound case studies for vertical dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also be able to scoop even more references through the bibliography that is reported at the end of each selected reference.

Without further ado, these are the “Ten Problems for Healthcare in the 2020s” that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

  1. delivery,
  2. access,
  3. economics,
  4. digital,
  5. artificial intelligence,
  6. pharma,
  7. regulation,
  8. special needs,
  9. wellbeing,
  10. workforce.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introductory section, a short presentation of the ten selected references and a conclusions section.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter again in order to provide a complete executive summary.


[1] J. Kirton et al., “ Health: A political choice – Delivering Universal Health Coverage 2030“, 2019, World Health Organization, GT Media Group Ltd, online at

[2] L.C. Vermeulen et al., “ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast 2020: Strategic Planning Advice for Pharmacy Departments in Hospitals and Health Systems”, 2020, American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, Volume 77, Issue 2, Pages 84–112, doi: online at

[3] K. Tran et al., “ Digital Health Trends for 2020”, 2020, Digimind, online at

[4] W.E. Rosa et al., “The global nursing workforce: realising universal palliative care”, 2020 Mar, The Lancet, Vol. 8, online at

[5] J.X. Zhan, “Investment Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, 2020, Investment Policy Monitor: Special Issue May 2020, Vol. 4, United Nations UNCTAD, online at       

“Ten Problems for Healthcare in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2020; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page