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Hospital study shows progress and room for improvement

10:28 27/07/2019

Flanders' hospitals are getting better at following safety rules, according to new figures from the Flemish Institute for Care Quality, which has investigated factors such as hand hygiene and prescription accuracy.

Since 2016, the institute has carried out a study each year to judge whether the region’s hospitals are fulfilling certain quality criteria. For example, what percentage of care providers are meeting hand hygiene standards to prevent infection, and whether all patients have a wristband with the correct information on it.

The 61 surveyed hospitals saw increased scores in both cases. “The difference in quality between the hospitals is also getting smaller and smaller,” Svin Deneckere, the institute’s director, told VRT.

But in other measures, there is still room for improvement, including in the completeness and timeliness of prescriptions. “What’s important there is: is the name of the patient on the prescription, and are the dosage and frequency of the medicine stated?” Deneckere said. “That’s where you see certain hospitals not doing well enough.”

The complete application of a safe surgery checklist is also still a problem in some places, with certain hospitals only scoring 25%. This list is a series of procedures that must be carried out before, during and after a patient is operated on and is based on a checklist of 22 demands drawn up by the World Health Organization. By following the entire checklist, Deneckere says, avoidable deaths can fall by more than half.

The aim of the institute’s survey is to make clear the differences between hospitals, demonstrate how hospitals can learn from each other, and allow patients to make more informed choices about where they are treated. Deneckere: “The patient has a right to know where they can go to receive the best care.”

See the results of the survey and compare hospitals here. Patients with concerns are advised to discuss them with their GP.

Photo: Getty Images

Written by Flanders Today