Improving care and reducing cost of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in a challenging economic climate
“A substantial and significant decrease in surgical site infection rate and a significant cost saving for the institution are achievable.” This impactful message, from Professor Dr Jan Kluytmans, a leading authority in infection prevention from the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, was delivered to 260 delegates from over 14 countries attending the 10th European Infection Prevention Expert Conference in October 2013. Organised by the Infection Prevention Division of global technology company 3M, the by-invitation conference held in Cologne, Germany, majored for the first time on the health economic implications of HAIs. Speakers from healthcare insurance companies took to the podium alongside eminent clinicians.
The prevalence of HAIs remains an ongoing threat to patients – on any given day, one in 18 patients (5.6%) in European hospitals has at least one healthcare associated infection – and continues to drain billions of Euros annually from a declining healthcare budget. Stringent productivity and efficiency targets, changes to health service commissioning, complex care
requirements and rising patient expectations add further financial demands to already overstretched resources.
To address these challenges, Professor Dr. Kluytmans outlined how a Surgical Site Infection (SSI) bundle of care consisting of four measures – hair removal, maintenance of normothermia, timing of antibiotic prophylaxis and discipline in the Operating Room was successfully implemented in his institution. “The bundle system included active measuring of compliance with different elements, such as patient temperature and the use of a surgical clipper. For ‘discipline’ we measured the number of door movements. The programme was associated with a significant decrease in the SSI rate of 36% in colorectal surgery and 50% in vascular surgery and an annual cost saving for the hospital of more than €500,000,” he commented.
Fellow speaker Dr Miriam Kroeze, a senior adviser in prevention at MediRisk, the Netherlands’ largest medical liability insurer, discussed how HAI prevention programmes were essential to improve patient outcomes and prevent both financial loss and damage to a hospital’s reputation.
Also delivering a powerful message was Robert van Schagen from the Dutch ‘Lean in de zorg (LIDZ) or ‘Lean in Healthcare’ networking organisation. Aiming to inspire healthcare professionals to make healthcare safer and more
efficient, Mr van Schagen outlined how implementing Lean methodologies can remove non value-add activities for the patient and improve overall hospital efficiency and productivity. He commented, “Increased patient safety is the first benefit to be realised when improving hospital processes.”
The conference also covered a number of educational topics, such as measuring and maintaining patient normothermia throughout the perioperative process. Dr Ratan Alexander, consultant anaesthetist from Worcestershire Royal Hospital, UK, clearly outlined the importance of keeping the patient warm to avoid surgical site infections and other complications. “This conference is an excellent platform to disseminate best practice and it gives delegates the opportunity to focus on important
topics such as patient warming” he said.
The European Infection Prevention Expert Conference forms a key part of3M’s commitment to partnering with hospitals to reduce the global incidence of HAIs. 3M is committed to deliver HAI prevention solutions that provide value to patients, healthcare providers and payers. Further details of the meeting are available from the Conference website and a short video
“3M has an unrivalled history of innovation, broad product portfolio and is passionate about education in the field of infection prevention. This conference and other initiatives, such as the recently launched One Together programme ideally position 3M as the infection prevention partner of choice,”
said Manfred Hinz, business manager, 3M Infection Prevention Western Europe. “We’re delighted that so many customers attended to enhance their learning and development and to identify practical opportunities to deliver cost-effective infection prevention strategies and solutions within their own facilities,” he added.