“The more we look, the more we find!”
The workshop organized by Health First Europe and European Network for Safer Healthcare (sponsored by Becton, Dickinson and Company) on the first day of the EHFG was an interactive and inspiring discussion between both the panelist and the audience. Data collection on adverse events and surveillance is needed to foster patient safety and tackle the 8.8 million cases of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) in the EU, along with the threat posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in her keynote speech, addressed the 2016/2017 situation of HAI prevalence in different countries in Europe. She emphasized the observed correlation between the blood culture use rate and HAI prevalence: “The more you look, the more you find”. The number and frequency of blood cultures, case mix severity and specificity of PPS staff (Point Prevalence Survey) can explain even up to 85% of the inter-country variation of HAI%!
For me this was a real eye-opener, making all of us ask the same question: if you take less frequent blood cultures, and in return,your results show you have lower HAI%, does that mean your country is doing worse or just looking better? What does this mean for the future of surveillance? What are the factors we need to tackle in order to have comparable data between countries? It seems digital solutions and a pan-European methodology set in place could provide the answer to the very important question of having comparable data in Europe as a whole. Benchmarking between different countries, regions and even hospitals, can drive improvements in HAI monitoring and prevention. It can lead to new prevention methods and significantly improve patient safety.
A takeaway thought of this workshop for me was that we need to involve the patient more in the development of healthcare system quality, including surveillance and patient safety. The patient in the center of the system, a system that exists for the patient and their needs, not vice versa. This combined holistic and multisectoral approach seems to be the best way to ensure that changes for the better are made. In addition, the healthcare system needs to collect, interpret and make transparent data publicly available on standards and quality of given healthcare, based on a predetermined and universal set of indicators to make benchmarking possible. I believe health literacy and empowering the patient to use this publicly available transparent data on different service providers in the healthcare system can lead to service-wise more competitive environment in the whole sector and secure the much-needed atmosphere of growth and innovation.
This Blog was written by the Young Gasteiner Vladana Stefanovic