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

Health Policy Journal

Health Policy is a journal produced by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. It is intended to enable a wide discussion of health policy issues and is aimed in particular at improving communication between health policy researchers, legislators, decision-makers and professionals concerned with developing, implementing and analysing health policy.

For more information about Health Policy and to download previous issues on the hspm.org website

Big Data in Health

A new study on Big Data in Public Health, Telemedicine and Healthcare identifies examples of the use of Big Data in Health, and puts forward recommendations covering 10 relevant fields: awareness raising, education and training, data sources, open data and data sharing, applications and purposes, data analysis, governance of data access and use, standards, funding and financial resources, and legal and privacy aspects.

In the context of this study, “big data in health” refers to large routinely or automatically collected datasets, which are electronically captured and stored. Using Big Data in health has many potential benefits. It may contribute to, for example, increasing the effectiveness and quality of treatments available for patients, widening possibilities for disease prevention by identifying risk factors at population, sub-population, and individual levels, improving pharmacovigilance and patient safety, and reducing inefficiency and waste.

The study’s 10 recommendations are aimed at maximising opportunities Big Data can bring to public health in the EU – to improve the health of individual patients as well as the  performance of Member States’ health systems. All recommendations are underpinned by principles such as the need to uphold ethical standards and the privacy or safety of citizens, and to include stakeholders – such as patient advocacy groups, when implementing them.

To read the full report on Big Data in Health on the ec.europa.eu website

Putting a value on improvements to health

Ensuring global access to proven interventions – including vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, as well as prioritising the development of new health technologies – requires an assessment of whether the improvement in health outcomes they offer exceeds the improvement in health that would have been possible if the resources required had, instead, been made available for other health care activities. So some assessment of these health opportunity costs is required if the best use is to be made of the resources available for health care, existing technologies and the development of new ones.

Evidence of the expected costs and health effects of making an intervention available to specific populations in
particular settings and health care systems are often summarised as cost per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) ratios (Salomon et al, 2012). These provide a useful summary of how much additional resource is required to achieve a measured improvement in health (the additional cost required to avert one DALY), or how much health is delivered for an amount of additional resource (the DALYs averted per $1,000).
Download the full briefing paper on Health Opportunity Costs on the york.ac.uk website

Health at a Glance

There are two new reports from the OECD in the ‘Health at a Glance’ series:

Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 which is the fourth edition looking at health in the EU and presents key indicators of health and health systems in the 28 EU countries, 5 candidate countries to the EU and 3 EFTA countries.

Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2016 which presents key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing, and health care quality across 27 Asia-Pacific countries and economies.

Download the Health in Europe report and the Health in Asia/Pacific report from the keepeek.com website

Over 2 million HIV cases in Europe

The cumulative number of HIV cases in the WHO European Region has risen to a new high of more than 2 million, with 153,000 new HIV cases identified in 2015 – a 7% increase compared to the previous year and the highest annual number since reporting began in the 1980s.

A new report “HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2015“, also states that 1 in 7 people living with HIV in the European Economic Area (122,000 people) are unaware of their condition.

The main transmission mode also varied by geographical area. HIV infections increased consistently among men who have sex with men in the western and central parts of the Region, while in the eastern part heterosexual transmission increased. Transmission through injecting drug use still accounted for one third of new cases in eastern European countries.

For more information about HIV/AIDS in Europe from the euro.who.int website

Air pollution kills 467,000 Europeans a year

Air pollution is causing around 467,000 premature deaths in Europe every year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned. People in urban areas are especially at risk, with around 85% exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at levels deemed harmful by the World Health Organization (WHO).

These particles are too small to see or smell, but can have a devastating impact, causing or aggravating heart disease, asthma and lung cancer.

Download the Air Quality in Europe 2016 report from the eea.europa.eu website

 

How active are our children?

Report cards on the physical activity of children and youth across the world have been released revealing how countries compare in getting their youth active. The Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance was responsible for organising the cards which graded countries on nine common indicators, overall physical activity, organized sport participation, active play, active transportation, sedentary behaviour, family and peers, school, community and the built environment and government strategies and investment.

The cards reflect standardised grading across countries ranging from  A= excellent to F = failing. Average grades for both physical activity and sedentary behaviour around the world are D. There is no data available for Northern Ireland, but both England and Scotland have been graded as D while Scotland is graded as F.

For more information about children’s physical activity and health on the bhfactive.org.uk website

Obesity in the EU

The latest European Health Interview Survey shows that almost 1 adult in 6 in the EU is considered obese and the share of obesity increases with age and decreases with education level.
While 46.1% of those aged 18 or over living in the EU had a normal weight in 2014, slightly more than half of the adults (51.6%) were considered as over-weight (35.7% pre-obese and 15.9% obese) and a further 2.3% as under-weight. In other words, nearly 1 in every 6 persons aged 18 or over in the EU was obese in 2014.
Obesity is a serious public health problem that can be statistically measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI) of adults, with obesity defined as a BMI of 30 or over. The share of obese adults clearly varies between age groups and according to education level. With the exception of those aged 75 or over, the older the age group, the higher the share of obese persons: the obesity share in the EU stood at 22.1% for people aged 65 to 74, while it was below 6% (5.7%) for those aged 18 to 24. The pattern is also clear for education level: the proportion of obese persons in the
EU falls as the educational level rises. Indeed, while the percentage of obese persons among those with low education level reached almost 20% (19.9%), it decreased to 16.0% for those with a medium education level and to less than 12% (11.5%) for the population with a high education level.
More statistics on obesity in the EU can be downloaded from the ec.europa.eu website.

Consumption of fruit and vegetables

On average across the EU, only 1 in 7 people aged 15 or over eats at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables daily……while 1 in 3 have days when they do not eat any fruit or vegetables at all.
Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is considered an important element of a healthy and balanced diet yet in the EU slightly more than a third (34.4%) of the population aged 15 or over did not eat them on a daily basis in 2014, while less than 15% (14.1%) consumed at least 5 portions each day.
The daily consumption of fruit and vegetables differs widely between EU Member States, with those aged 15 or over not eating fruit and vegetables on a daily basis ranging from almost two-thirds of the population in Romania (65.1%) to slightly over 15% in Belgium (16.5%). On the other hand, the share of those eating at least 5 portions daily varied from a third in the United Kingdom (33.1%) to less than 5% in both Romania (3.5%) and Bulgaria (4.4%).
Different for men and for women, daily consumption of fruit and vegetables seems also to be influenced by the level of education. The higher the education level, the higher the share of the “5-a-day” population.
More statistics on healthy eating habits can be downloaded from the ec.europa.eu website