European Commission report shows Member States making progress but much left to be done
Brussels, 16 November, 2012 - MedTech Europe, the alliance of European medical technology industry associations, welcomes the report published yesterday by the European Commission on implementing measures to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) and suggests that medical technologies can further contribute to reducing HCAIs. The report shows the increasing concern by Member States on this issue and most countries have put in place policies to address patient safety. However, the report outlines the lack of robust and consistent data across Europe, that together with the lack of defined targets to combat HCAIs, makes it difficult for the authorities to assess the magnitude of the problem and respond accordingly.
Figures, targets and deadlines are the basic means to check the effectiveness of measures against HCAIs and to determine how to spend money effectively. Furthermore, barriers to innovative solutions should be reduced, possibly by means of EU funding. There is a need for policies and guidelines across Europe that support screening and testing.
“We are encouraged to see Member States are implementing measures to reduce healthcare-associated infections. However, the number of deaths caused by these infections is still estimated to be at least 37,000 in Europe. That is too many lives being put at risk unnecessarily,” comments Serge Bernasconi, Chief Executive of MedTech Europe.
The ‘STEP’ model – Staff, Technology, Environment, Process – created by MedTech Europe, helps healthcare providers and professionals assess the risk of HCAIs and use the information to introduce policies which will help reduce and contain infections. It focuses on:
- Training for staff on infection control practices
- Introducing cost-effective, innovative technologies to reduce HCAIs
- Reducing environmental risks through cleaning of facilities and equipment with appropriate disinfectants, good hand-hygiene and isolation of infected patients
- Setting out clear policies on risk prevention
Decreasing the risk of HCAIs for patients and healthcare professionals, through the use of innovative medical technologies and in vitro diagnostics, will improve return on investment and productivity while enhancing standards of care.
So far, 25 countries have identified patient safety as a priority in public health policies. However, issues remain around education and training of healthcare professionals and information to patients. MedTech Europe urges Member States to look to recommendations set out by the Council to support further research on the prevention and control of HCAIs, including studies on the cost-effectiveness of prevention and control programmes.
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Background on HCAIs
HCAIs can occur in different forms, the most frequent ones being pneumonia caused by artificial respiration, an infection caused by a catheter or the infection of surgical wounds. The contamination can be spread by human to human contact, medical instruments or equipment such as bed sheets. Often the contamination is severe, caused by germs that are resistant to antibiotics, which are frequently found in hospitals. Studies have shown that HCAI control policies and innovative technology can reduce infections significantly.
More detailed information on tackling HCAIs effectively, can be found in EDMA’s Position Paper on Healthcare-Associated Infections and Eucomed’s Position Paper Addressing the challenge of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in Europe – A Call to Action.
About MedTech Europe
MedTech Europe is an alliance of European medical technology industry associations. The Alliance was founded by EDMA, representing the European in vitro diagnostic industry, and Eucomed, representing the European medical devices industry. Other European medical technology associations are welcome to join the Alliance, established to represent the common policy interests of its members more effectively and efficiently.
Our mission is to make value-based, innovative medical technology available to more people, while supporting the transformation of healthcare systems onto a sustainable path. We promote a balanced policy environment that enables the medical technology industry to meet the growing healthcare needs and expectations of its stakeholders. In addition, we demonstrate the value of medical technology by encouraging our members to execute the industry’s 5-year strategy. For more information, visit www.medtecheurope.org.
Ingmar de Gooijer
T: +32 (0)2 775 92 24
M: +32 (0)492 97 14 70