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Public Health (14-10-2014)

Future EU Agenda on Patient Safety and Quality of Care – Opinion adopted by Health Expert Panel

Today, the independent Expert Panel which advises the Commission on matters related to “effective ways of investing in health” adopted its opinion on the Future EU Agenda on Quality of Health Care with a special emphasis on Patient Safety.

In its opinion, the Expert Panel identified a subset of commonly accepted dimensions of quality and safety applicable to all health services. These should be prioritised at EU level in order to improve the quality of health care. Regardless of the level of health care provided, all services have to be effective, safe, appropriate, patient-centred, efficient and equitable.

On the information needed to assess quality and safety of health care in the EU, the Expert Panel highlight a subset of indicators potentially suitable to quantify these quality and safety core dimensions.

In addition, the Expert Panel acknowledges that the European Commission could play a crucial role in boosting actions to be taken at EU level aimed at improving the quality of health care and the safety of patients. The actions proposed cover:

  • the use of a comprehensive conceptual framework in relation to quality and safety;
  • development of guidelines and the inter-professional sharing of good practices;
  • funding research on quality and safety;
  • economic issues related to the defined quality dimensions;
  • education and training for the new roles of both patients and health professionals;
  • information technology and information systems significant for health quality and safety;
  • quality and safety aspects of the burden of chronic diseases and inequalities in health;
  • the HTA network, and increasing attention to Health System Impact Assessment.

This opinion was requested by the Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate General. It was subject to a public consultation which ran from 1 August to 21 September 2014. Overall, the 174 contributions received agreed with the opinion and provided additional elements, where necessary. This opinion, as all advice given by the Expert Panel, is non-binding.