Hospitals are reservoirs of critical resources and knowledge. They can be classified according to the interventions they provide, the roles they play in the health system and the health and educational services they offer to the communities in and around them.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Hospitals are an essential part of health system development. External pressures, health systems shortcomings and hospital sector deficiencies are driving a new vision for hospitals. In this vision, they have a key role to play to support other healthcare providers and for community outreach and home-based services and are essential in a well-functioning referral network.
Hospitals should reflect the needs and values of the communities in and around them. Effective hospitals are designed for their users, with attention to the needs of special populations, such as children and the elderly. A well-designed hospital environment maximizes the effectiveness of clinical care delivery and enhances the well-being of patients and hospital staff.
Adequate and reliable infrastructure, technologies and supplies, form the backbone of the hospital. Key infrastructure (such as well-planned spaces, water and energy, telecommunications) must support daily functioning, and be designed with redundancy to ensure continued safe and effective operation, even during a disaster or crisis. Appropriate and good quality medical and ICT technologies and supplies should be available for specialized health workforce to meet the population needs
Good management structures ensure coordination among staff, services, infrastructure and supply chains to deliver high-quality care. Clinical registries and structured data audits facilitate rapid identification of high-yield areas for improvement. Regular monitoring of service quality with targeted intervention to address gaps drives ongoing improvement.
Standardized hospital assessments inform policy and planning strategies. They help ensure that hospitals are properly resourced and distributed to meet both international standards and local population needs.