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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4439; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124439

Framing the Shades of Sustainability in Health Care: Pitfalls and Perspectives from Western EU Countries

1
Department of Social and Political Science, University “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan, 20154 Milano, Italy
2
Department of Management & Innovation Systems, University of Salerno, 84084 Fisciano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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PDF [1533 KB, uploaded 28 November 2018]
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Abstract

Sustainability is momentous for the appropriate functioning of health care systems. In fact, health and sustainability are two strictly related values, which could not be separately sought. While studies discussing the contextualization of this issue with respect to the distinguishing attributes of health care systems are rapidly blooming, there is still little agreement about what is ultimately meant by sustainability in the health care arena. On the one hand, attention is primarily focused on the proper use of available financial resources; on the other hand, people engagement and empowerment are gradually arising as a crucial step to enhance the viability of the health care system. This paper tries to identify, from a conceptual point of view inspired by the European integrative movement, the different shades of sustainability in health care and proposes a recipe to strengthen the long-term viability of health care organizations. The balanced mix of financial, economic, political, and social sustainability is compelling to increase the ability of health care organizations to create meaningful value for the population served. However, the focus on a single dimension of sustainability is thought to engender several side effects, which compromise the capability of health care organizations to guarantee health gains at the individual and collective levels. From this standpoint, further conceptual and practical developments are envisioned, paving the way for a full-fledged understanding of sustainability in the health care environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; health care; financial sustainability; political sustainability; social sustainability; health policy; national health service; health services sustainability; health care; financial sustainability; political sustainability; social sustainability; health policy; national health service; health services
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Borgonovi, E.; Adinolfi, P.; Palumbo, R.; Piscopo, G. Framing the Shades of Sustainability in Health Care: Pitfalls and Perspectives from Western EU Countries. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4439.

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