Weaponising data to fight infection in hospitals13 May 2022
Healthcare-associated infections are one of the greatest preventable threats to patient safety. In addition to causing suffering, they can do lasting, economic damage to medical facilities. The annual estimated costs in Europe amount to over €7bn. The HARTMANN GROUP has launched a new initiative to improve the position of hospitals in the important fight against healthcare-associated infections.
Mission: Infection Prevention (M:IP) has two goals for hospitals: to make opportunity costs associated with healthcare-associated infections transparent, and to optimise the opportunities by reviewing and improving hygiene processes and prevention measures to avoid preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
In Europe, over 3.8 million people contract a healthcare-associated infection each year. Numerous advances in infection prevention have been made in recent years. Nevertheless, in a recent HARTMANN survey of medical professionals and managers in the German hospital environment, more than two-thirds of respondents stated that HAIs are significant risk factors for hospitals now and in the future, even threatening their very existence. The recently published 2021 hospital report from the German healthcare insurance company Barmer showed as well that risks of getting an HAI during a hospital stay have worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Reasons for this include a different patient mix (higher co-morbidities), longer hospital stay and less compliance in infection prevention measures often linked to higher staff workload. Through efficient and standardised infection prevention measures, facilities can protect patients and manage their operations more successfully. Infections generate costs that are preventable. Infection prevention measures can help avoid such costs.
Creating transparency in infection incidence and costs
The most important thing is to create transparency for hospital managers and infection prevention and control teams. That’s why HARTMANN has developed a new tool called M:IP Analysis that allows hospitals to transparently display incidences and costs of healthcare-associated infections at facility level. This gives indications on where processes can be optimised and opportunity costs controlled in a targeted manner. The infection incidence in hospitals can be localised by the application in any depth of detail (for example, on department level) and economic key figures can be displayed. These include the costs incurred by a diagnosed infection and the corresponding optimisation potential. The digitisation of infection prevention offers the advantage of transparent hospital data, and so solutions for hygiene and process optimisation can be derived directly from the respective institution. In this way, HARTMANN supports the hospital staff in improving patient safety and staff health.
Patient safety and educating to avoid risk
“HARTMANN offers a holistic programme for infection prevention. The objective of Mission: Infection Prevention is two-fold: to educate healthcare professionals and improve the safety of the patients they work with,” explains Thomas Haeni, vice president of the HAI-Program at HARTMANN. “This ranges from individual consultation in clinics and nursing homes – for example, optimising processes and interrupting risk chains – to public education to help make infection prevention comprehensible. Digital data analysis and standardised evaluation forms can be used to identify potential for improvement. Subsequently, a revision of the protocols – SOPs – takes place in cooperation with the medical staff on site. Such SOPs can also be recorded digitally and adapted to the clinic’s individual processes. This simplifies the implementation in practice and thus also the compliance with the processes. Continuous evaluation ensures that the desired results are achieved.”