Clinical biology - "It's time for Euro compatibility"

by Bernard Gouget, Senior Counsellor for Public Health at the French Hospital Federation (FHF), representative and Deputy General Secretary International of the SFBC*and EFCC**, and member of the Francophone Federation of Clinical Biology and Laboratory Medicine (FIFBCML)

France - Clinical biology is faced with many internal and external developments, notably advances in medical science, automation, quality assurance, electronic data transmission, and the impact of the European legislation.

Bernard Gouget
Bernard Gouget

On St. Valentine’s Day, The French Hospital Federation (Gérard Vincent, Chief executive manager) in collaboration of the French Society for Clinical Biology (SFBC; Société Française de Biologie Clinique) organised a meeting on the evolution of hospital biology – a conference that gathered more than 450 participants from the private and public sectors with backgrounds in medicine, engineering, and administration.Over the past few months, the French Inspector General of Social Affairs released a report highly critical of private-sector medical biology. Consequently, two missions were launched with the aim of initiating reform in French medical biology, and reorganising public sector laboratory medicine. This renewed interest owes nothing to chance, but rather to the heightened awareness of the central role of laboratory medicine as a necessary complement to the evolution of healthcare facilities. In effect, laboratory medicine unites specialties that contribute to medical diagnoses (with the selection and therapeutic follow-up of medication, and of those that have an impact on quality and safety).
One of the major challenges facing our healthcare system today is the system’s ability to internalise the scientific developments in which laboratory biology takes a special place, by guaranteeing equal access to healthcare. This access cannot be guaranteed without considering patient information, geographical location, and the requirements of IT and communications. In other aspects of healthcare systems, just as assessing the relevance of med-lab analyses ensures that quality is guaranteed, so does the assessment and just compensation of those who contribute to that achievement. In reviewing Lab medicine, it is thus, in certain ways, that questioning the quality of care provided and the future of the public hospital that determine other developments; developments such as collaboration between hospitals and strategic groups, efficiency, and the emergence of predictive medicine, translational research connecting basic research to patient care, and fostering innovation.
It becomes necessary, then, to reform the 1975 law that governs the terms under which one exercises one’s profession to meet the current challenges of quality, competitiveness, financial issues, and to consider a new common legal framework. Quality of healthcare must be guaranteed in the same manner in the private sector and at the hospital, as both sectors should contribute to maintain the permanent provision of healthcare. It is necessary to establish synergies between the private and public sectors, and to build on the strengths of professionals in order to perform, from the start, at a European level.
We have to learn to manage developments efficiently, and to respond to the strong growth of demand for biological diagnoses. One of the common approaches is quality, which requires regulation, as elsewhere in healthcare sector, through the adoption of professional reference and due process, as well as controls by both peers and national authorities. In this sense, the work of the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry on the accreditation of laboratories in Europe makes a strong point for a European quality medical biology provider contributing to this regulatory dynamic balance.
The FHF is contributing to this collective intelligence in defining the most innovative experiments — in putting this issue in a European framework, assessing the capacity of technical platforms to cooperate with other European healthcare networks, making an inventory of the potential, but also preparing the conditions for a successful changeover.
*SFBC : Société française de biologie Clinique
** EFCC: European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine


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