Health service delivery systems that are safe, accessible, high quality, people-centred, and integrated are critical for moving towards universal health coverage. Service delivery systems are responsible for providing health services for patients, persons, families, communities and populations in general, and not only care for patients. While patient-centred care is commonly understood as focusing on the individual seeking care (the patient), people-centred care encompasses these clinical encounters and also includes attention to the health of people in their communities and their crucial role in shaping health policy and health services.
Service delivery systems should also consider the whole spectrum of care from promotion and prevention to diagnostic, rehabilitation and palliative care, as well all levels of care including self-care, home care, community care, primary care, long-term care, hospital care, in order to provide integrated health services throughout the life course. WHO is supporting countries in moving towards universal health coverage through improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their health service delivery systems.