Medical technologies can add value for patients, healthcare professionals and health systems. However, this must go hand-in-hand with safety. After all, the fundamental tenet of healthcare professionals is Primum non nocere: ‘first, do no harm’.
I see our industry’s role as an important player in a health system that helps people get better, safely. Patient safety must sit at the heart of our industry agenda if we wish to deliver true value every day and in the most impactful ways.
The good news is that by enhancing safety we add value. For example, reducing healthcare-associated infections improves patient outcomes but also accelerates surgical recovery times, reduces time spent in hospital, and saves time for health professionals. I am proud of the role that our sector plays in reducing preventable harms and minimizing healthcare costs.
However, until all safety gaps are closed, we must continue to support and enhance best practices. Our sectors should always strive to do more to improve patient safety with the physical and figurative tools that we place in the hands of care providers.
Driving the debate forward
Infection Prevention Week (14-20 October) is a timely reminder of the need to improve patient safety. I believe we will one day achieve a world without surgery-related infections. This is a big, shared task: collaboration is key. It is not the remit of just one individual or one organisation. It requires multiple stakeholders across the entire patient pathway to unite. Only together will our vision of a world free of surgery-related infections come to fruition.
To help us chart a course to an infection-free future for surgery patients, the Clinical Services Journal, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, is publishing a series of interviews with thought leaders in infection prevention and patient safety. I believe this kind of collaboration reflects our industry’s long-standing support for driving the debate forward.
The publication, ‘Through the Looking Glass: A World Without Surgery-related Infections’ paints a picture of a world that is safer for patients. It shows how stakeholders can lead and win the fight against surgery-related infection today and into the future.
Among the key issues addressed by leading experts are the need for infection prevention ‘champions’ and the importance of adherence to guidelines; the value of practitioner empowerment alongside broader awareness raising; the economic implications of surgery-related sepsis; and how comorbidities impact infection rates.
What shines through each of the expert interviews is what humanity stands to gain from getting this right, and the heightened definition of value that would result; namely safer, more sustainable healthcare. Not only do we have a chance to deliver better patient outcomes and experiences, there are potentially huge cost savings that open up new opportunities for improving healthcare in future.