Helios introduces new generation of quality indicators

The Helios group of hospitals recently introduced a new scheme for a unified, comparable set of indicators to describe the most important services and quality parameters in hospitals. The model is a trend-setting step towards greater transparency - with less administrative effort.

Thomas Mansky
Thomas Mansky

With the new indicators, Helios has further enhanced its quality management system, which is unequalled in Germany. On the basis of standardised codes, referring doctors and patients are set to receive a far more comprehensive impression of the services and quality of results in Helios hospitals.

At the same time, the results are the basis for competition between the hospitals and will enhance overall treatment quality. Dr Thomas Mansky, head of medical development, said: ‘The new indicators are a big step towards the type of transparency in the hospital market that enables us to compare services and quality.

‘We want to make the know-how available to all other interested hospitals to promote more openness and quality in the healthcare system.’

The group has been developing a standardised reporting system for the description of services and results quality in acute hospitals. This has been refined through its use in 30 hospitals and has evolved continuously through input from senior doctors.

Helios is now introducing the second generation of the indicators for acute hospitals. This set of codes comprises most important illnesses, shows them in a comparable way and gives, wherever possible, clear information on results quality. All indicators are defined in a way that they can be derived from routine hospital data.

Nineteen of the so-called inpatient quality indicators of the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) are included in the Helios set of indicators in a significantly improved, medically more appropriate form. Moreover, the Helios codes contain many indicators for which the AHRQ has yet no definition, making it the most advanced set internationally.

They provide information about 30 groups of illnesses and procedures. These are shown with 142 codes in a clearly defined way. The indicators are chosen in a way that provides information on typical, common disease patterns such as heart attacks or pneumonia, as well as on rarer, more intricate problems such as complex surgery on the oesophagus.

This mix of indicators provides information about 28.2% of all patient admissions to the Helios hospitals in standardised form. As the treatment spectrum at Helios hospitals does not differ from the average provided by other German hospitals, this set of indicators can make almost a third of all German hospital services transparent in a standardised, medically appropriate form.

Medical files trial scheme launched
THE French health ministry recently launched a pilot scheme to place millions of patients’ medical files on a central database.

The project is being trialled in 17 areas around the country with the aim of keeping a patient’s complete medical history - to be known as the dossier medical personnel (DMP) - on a central database that any doctor can access via a computer terminal, providing the patient gives permission. Although participation in the scheme will not be compulsory, patients who do not choose to take part will have their refunds for consultation and prescription fees reduced. At present, these are handled through a number of regional centres and a percentage of each fee is usually credited to a patient’s bank or post office account.

The DMP would contain information on each patient’s prescription history, drug allergies and blood group. Patients may add or delete certain information to their files if they wish, including whether they wish to donate vital organs in the event of their death or to stipulate that information be withheld from certain doctors. The health ministry says the scheme will help improve diagnoses, avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions and save time and money. France spends a huge proportion of its gross domestic product on funding its healthcare system.

27.12.2006

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