Hospital-acquired infections is a topic both clinicians and politicians take very seriously in The Region of Southern Denmark. And they’re not resting on their laurels. The region is now presenting tangible action plans and expanding a system to enhance the prevention and treatment of unwanted infections through the use of data-driven management in all of the region’s hospitals.
“Let’s actively use data to make hospital patients safer in Denmark.”, is something I have been talking about for a long time. So I was very pleased to read in a press release from The Region of Southern Denmark dated Thursday August the 24th that they were now launching a regional initiative to combat hospital-acquired infections. That same day on the heels of this announcement, an article appeared in Dagens Medicin (“Medicine Today”). This is a good initiative, because what can be more frustrating or trying for patients—and not in the least, costly for the community—than being burdened with a possibly avoidable infection during their stay?
It is also good to see that The Region of Southern Denmark has chosen data-driven management as a tool. Data and advanced analysis can help fight hospital-acquired infections by assembling and using data in a more complex manner than an individual is capable of. Data can indicate the source of the problem in a more nuanced fashion than individual clinicians can manage based on their professional knowledge. Data enhances our collective knowledge and provides us with more opportunities to implement activities that improve both the quality of treatment and patient safety.
Deriving insights from more, and growing numbers of, data sources is possible at sensible cost and timeframes. Enterprise-wide analytics is within reach, providing you have a high data management quotient. Test it here.
Hospital-acquired infections spread suffering and financial losses in the community
In Sweden, they recently carried out a thorough investigation into the cost of these infections. Each year, 1,500 Swedes die of hospital-acquired infections - 1,500 individuals! Such infections cause 750,000 extra days of hospitalization each year, equivalent to an annual cost of around $775 million. In Denmark, we may not have such accurate figures available, but we do share the same issue, so why continue to put our heads in the sand and hope the problem will just go away?
The Region of Southern Denmark’s courage in assuming a leadership role and collaborating with other stakeholders to solve or reduce an enormous problem that is spreading suffering and costing human lives deserves a big round of applauses. Looking at the bigger picture, I hope the other regions in Denmark will be keeping an eye on any progress The Region of Southern Denmark makes in tackling this challenge. As I see it, this new solution could serve as a prototype for creating a nationwide clinical tool that can do more than just react in hindsight to events that have already been reported.
I look forward to when The Region of Southern Denmark starts using the information embedded in this data and is able to combine this new knowledge with clinical practice. The next step in expanding this system is to ensure the organizational structure and financing are both in place. The quicker this goes, the sooner it will benefit patients.
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