Unsafe medical care is a major source of ill-health (morbidity) or even death (mortality) throughout the world. Patient safety is a critical component of the quality of healthcare. Today, a series of adverse events and injuries can harm patients and greatly compromise their safety while they are being treated in hospitals or other healthcare facilities.
The European Union defines patient safety as: “Freedom for a patient from unnecessary harm or potential harm associated with healthcare”. The medical technology industry is fully committed to delivering solutions which puts patients and their safety at the centre of their business ethos. This commitment to the primacy of patient safety runs through the entire industry.
The industry is constantly striving to improve healthcare delivery, creating tools which can help minimise the chances of adverse events such as healthcare associated infections (HCAIs). Furthermore, by designing and developing easy-to-use medical devices and procedures, the industry is helping to reduce risk and increase quality of care.
The patient too has a role to play in improving their own safety. Empowered patients, with improved access to information and patient training, can play an active role in managing their own safety. The industry seeks enhanced cooperation with patients, to better understand the risks that lead to adverse events, and to develop improved, patient-centred solutions.
Examples where medical technology plays a role in improving patient safety
The European Union has been active for many years in the field of patient safety, so as the medical technology industry, in particular on topics such as healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), the reuse of single-use devices, blood safety, sharp injuries and such as the recent Cross-Border Healthcare Directive. The medical technology industry contributes actively in improving the safety of patients globally.