Patient blood management

A 5-year Patient Blood Management (PBM) programme in Western Australia resulted in a 28% reduction in hospital mortality, a 15% reduction in average hospital length of stay, a 21% reduction in hospital-acquired infections and a 31% decrease in heart attack or stroke. There was also a 41% reduction in the use of blood products, leading to a substantial cost saving as well.

PBM is a patient-focused, evidence-based and systemic approach to improve patient outcomes through the safe and rational use of blood and blood products and avoiding unnecessary transfusions. Essential elements of PBM include:

  • preventing conditions that might result in the need for transfusion
  • appropriate diagnosis
  • good surgical and anaesthetic techniques
  • the use of alternatives to blood transfusion and blood conservation.

The PBM approach has been endorsed and promoted by the WHO and is widely accepted as current best practice.

The EU has recently published two guides on Patient Blood Management (PBM), one for authorities and the other for hospitals.

To download the two guides on Patient Blood Management from the ec.europa.eu website

Cross-border collaboration in public procurement

This report ‘How can voluntary cross-border collaboration in public procurement improve access to health technologies in Europe?’ examines the legal framework put in place by the EU to foster voluntary cross-border collaboration in the field of public procurement of health technologies. It looks at recent experiences and developments in cross-border collaboration across Europe and explores the challenges and opportunities that such cross-border collaboration present.

To download the report on cross-border collaboration in public procurement from the euro.who.int website

Government expenditure on health

At EU-level, ‘health’ expenditure remained the second largest item of general government expenditure after expenditure on ‘social protection’ in 2015. In the EU-28, total expenditure of general governments on ‘health’ amounted to 7.2% of GDP. ‘Hospital services’ accounted for 3.4 % of GDP, ‘outpatient services’ for 2.2 % of GDP and ‘medical products, appliances and equipment’ for 1.0 % of GDP.

For more statistics about expenditure on health services from the ec.europa.eu website

Strategic investments for the future of healthcare

National health systems in the EU face common challenges: ageing populations and a rise of chronic diseases leading to growing demand for healthcare; shortages and uneven distribution of health professionals etc. Furthermore, (public) financial resources available for health are constrained. Today’s health systems are in need of reforms to
tackle these challenges. New care models, which support a shift from hospital-centred to more community and integrated care approaches, are a crucial part of the reforms to improve the efficiency and sustainability of health systems.
Earlier in 2017, the Commission, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB), held a seminar to discuss new forms of investment for innovative forms of healthcare. Over 100 delegates participated in the event, from the public and private sectors: Member States authorities, healthcare managers and service providers, as well as investors active or interested in the health sector.
This led to the report ‘Strategic investments for the future of healthcare’ which details the investment plan for health within the EU.
Download Strategic investments for the future of healthcare from the ec.europa.eu website

Assessing integrated care in Europe

The EU’s expert group on health systems’ performance assessment has produced a report ‘Blocks: tools and methodologies to assess integrated care in Europe’.

They did so for two main reasons, firstly, at this stage of technological development and with current demographic patterns, we cannot rely on homogeneous, top-down healthcare solutions. Secondly, every patient is different and we need to develop patient-centred care tailored to individual needs and which allows them to be involved in their own care.
They have measured both the degree of integration of care and the performance of integrated care systems.
To download the report on Integrated care from the ec.europa.eu website

Effective cancer control saves lives, money and time

A new Guide available online gives recommendations on how to boost cancer control in Europe. The Guide is the result of a three-year effort by top experts in 25 countries and 126 partner organisations. They have been working together in an EU co-funded joint action, known as Cancon (officially titled European Guide on Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer Control Guide).

The Guide’s authors stress that besides saving money and time, effective cancer control increases quality of life. Currently some 2.6 million people in Europe are diagnosed with cancer annually. But more and more cancer patients are overcoming the disease. Therefore greater attention needs to be given to access to care, early diagnosis, rehabilitation, and survivorship.

For more information and to download the Guide to effective cancer control from the cancercontrol.eu website

Obesity and the public purse

This is the first study to estimate the annual savings that overweight and obese people bring UK taxpayers by dying prematurely (in 2016 prices). Ignoring these savings leads to substantial overestimation of the true burden of elevated body mass index (BMI) to the taxpayer. The study’s estimates of the present value of pension, healthcare and other benefit payments avoided through early, BMI-caused deaths (net of foregone tax payments) is £3.6 billion per annum.

This report, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, analyses the cost of obesity to public services and estimates that the net cost is less than £2.5 billion a year or 0.3 per cent of government spending. The report argues that the economic burden of obesity has been exaggerated and that the health care costs of an ageing population should be the focus for public service efficiency savings.

To read the full report on the true costs of obesity on the dodsmonitoring.com website

The cost of unsafe care

Given the growing importance of patient safety for both health systems and patients, it is necessary to assess the impact of patient safety efforts and to develop priorities for action.

In addition to increased cost of healthcare services, unsafe care also leads to loss of trust in health care systems by the public and diminished satisfaction by patients and health care professionals.

Patient safety programmes may prevent and reduce such adverse events which ultimately results in less harm inflicted to patients. This new study ‘Costs of unsafe care and cost-effectiveness of patient safety programmes‘ aims to:
  • provide a comprehensive picture of the financial impact of poor patient safety, including poor prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections, on European Union’s health systems;
  • identify cost-effective patient safety programmes implemented in the EU/EEA Member States and develop an analysis identifying their success factors;
  • assess cost-effectiveness and efficiency of investment in patient safety programmes.
To download the full report on the costs of unsafe care from the ec.europa.eu website

Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health

Following a brief pause after the economic crisis, health expenditure is rising again in most OECD countries, yet a considerable part of this health expenditure makes little or no contribution to improving people’s health. In some cases, it even results in worse health outcomes. S0, as this report points out, countries could potentially spend significantly less on health care with no impact on health system performance, or on health outcomes. The report ‘Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health‘ reviews strategies put in place by countries to limit ineffective spending and waste.

To find out more about the report on Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health on the keepeek.com website

New approach needed to tackle rising drug prices

The proliferation of high-cost medicines and rising drug prices are increasing pressures on public health spending and calling into question the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing strategies.

According to a new report from the OECD, ‘ New Health Technologies: Managing Access, Value and Sustainability’, pharmaceutical spending is increasingly skewed towards high-cost products. The launch prices of drugs for cancer and rare diseases are rising, sometimes without a commensurate increase in health benefits for patients. For instance in the United States the launch price of oncology drugs per life-year gained has been multiplied by four in less than 20 years and now exceeds $200,000.

For more information on Pharmaceutical Price Rises on the oecd.org website