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The Resilient Health Care Society

About the RHCS

The Resilient Health Care Society (RHCS) is a non-profit organisation registered in Sweden. It has been created to provide a permanent basis for the work started by the Resilient Health Care Network and serve to extend and continue that work.

The goal of the Society is to provide an international forum for coordination and exchange of principles, practices, and experiences, by bringing together researchers and professionals working with or interested in Resilient Health Care.

Research and practice in Resilient Health Care aims to develop and promote practical solutions, based on a solid scientific foundation, to ensure that health care systems can perform as intended under expected and unexpected conditions alike.

Background

The developments in safety thinking, in health care and elsewhere, can briefly be characterised by looking at two different interpretations of safety, called Safety-I and Safety-II, respectively.

  • According to Safety-I, a system is safe if as little as possible – and preferably nothing – goes wrong. In other words if there are no accidents or incidents. That can be achieved, for instance, by ‘avoiding injuries or harm to patients from care that is intended to help them’ (US AHRQ). The purpose of investigations and management in Safety-I is therefore to make sure that as little as possible goes wrong.

  • According to Safety-II, a system is safe if as much as possible goes well, if its performance is resilient in the sense that it can function as required under expected and unexpected conditions alike (changes / disturbances / opportunities). The purpose of safety related activities is therefore to make sure that as much as possible goes well.

The goals of Safety-I and Safety-II are in a way the same, namely that as much as possible goes well. But whereas Safety-I tries to achieve this by eliminating what can go wrong, Safety-II tries to achieve it by facilitating everyday work, by improving the potentials for resilient performance and thereby ensure that as much as possible goes well. Another way of saying that is that Safety-I tries to exclude or get away from something, namely an unsafe state, while Safety-II tries to include or approach something, namely a safe state. When you try to get away from something, almost any direction will do. But if you try to approach something, only one direction will bring you closer.

Scope

The scope of Safety-II, and therefore also of Resilient Health Care, exceeds the conventional safety topics and concerns. The focus is not limited to what goes wrong, but also includes what goes well. The focus is not just failures and cause-effect relations but everyday work and the functioning of the health care system as a whole. This means that all aspects of everyday work, as well as all that affects it, must be considered – from safety, productivity and quality to planning, policy, and politics.

Ambition

The ambition of the RHCN is to take a lead in applying Safety-II to health care worldwide; to become a generally recognised source of expertise, academically as well as practically; and to become an incubator for ideas and methods that can improve resilient health care on all levels.

What is in it for you?

The purpose of the RHCS is to complement the traditional Safety-I perspective with the view of Safety-II – in principle as well as in practice. If you are interested in finding out more about what this entails, or even in helping to do that, you can join the Resilient Health Care Network (RHCN) on LinkedIn and/or apply to become a member of the Resilient Health Care Society. We hope that you will do so and also actively contribute to the Society's development with your experience and motivation. In return you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with people who share your concerns, and to use as much time and energy as you want to engage in concrete activities.

About the logo

The first part of the logo is a kanji that has been proposed to represent ‘resilience.’ It can be interpreted as ‘bouncing back’ or ‘ soft, and recoverable rapidly.’ The second part of the logo is, of course, the Rod of Asclepius, which represents medicine and healing.