The purpose of the Resilient Health Care Net (RHCN) is to facilitate the interaction and collaboration among people who are interested in Resilient Health Care – practitioners and researchers alike. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions (face-to-face, skype, or via other media); establishing a web presence; exchange of views, opinions, and ideas; mutual moral and scientific support; collaboration on papers and projects; exchange visits; and the organisation of various events ranging from local informal workshops to international summer schools.


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 get away from something, namely an unsafe state, while Safety-II tries to 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.


It follows from the description of Safety-II that the scope exceeds the traditional safety topics and concerns. The focus is not limited to what goes wrong, but is extended to cover also 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. One good reason for that is that health care consumes a large part of a country’s economy. In 2008, the health care industry consumed an average of 9.0 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) across the most developed OECD countries. The United States (16.0%), France (11.2%), and Switzerland (10.7%) were the top three spenders.


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.

Who is behind this?

The RHCN constitutes one of the activities in the safety agenda of Centre for Quality and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southern Denmark.

The start-up of the RHCN has been managed by an International Core Group.

What is in it for you?

As stated in the objectives, the purpose of the RHCN 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 are encouraged to join the RHCN on LinkedIn. If you do so, we expect that you will not only follow what is going on but also take actively part. Your experience and your motivation will be important in determining how the RHCN is going to develop. 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.

What should you do if you want to become part of this?

  • If you are interested in becoming part of the RHCN, please join the RHCN group on LinkedIn.

  • If you want to learn more before deciding whether or not to join, feel free to send a mail to any of the members of the RHCN Core Group.

  • If you think someone else might be interested in hearing about the RHCN, please pass on this invitation.

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.

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