Friday, 25th October 2019  
A cartography of European Private Hospitals
I am proud to announce the publication on the UEHP Website of the first cartography of European Private Hospitals, dedicated to European citizens and professionals. You can find facilities location and information by specialties for more informed patients. Developed by a Health Expert, Joy Raynaud, this tool will facilitate contact and visibility of a true EU hospital network. Just a click away …!
Our last UEHP meeting organized in Budapest gave us relevant information on the recent development concerning e-health in Hungary, a presentation by Balint Szabo, Head of Department AEEK National Healthcare Service Center. We observed the outstanding success of this project which allows to connect all the Hungarian healthcare providers making it easier for physicians working in different institutions to access all important health information about the patient, facilitating e-prescription.
During the European Gastein Forum, with the support of HFE - Health First Europe, I had the honor to present UEHP position on hospital risk management facing cybersecurity questions. This big event was the occasion to establish contact with major stakeholders, and to actively participate to the positive evolution of healthcare systems in EU.
Dr Paul Garassus
President of UEHP
Forums and UEHP input
UEHP was invited to express the position of European Private Hospitals in recent major meetings. Gastein European Forum (Austria) is the place to be every year to meet and to discuss key issues with the major stakeholders involved in Healthcare. Organized by HFE (Health First Europe), the session (Data for safer care, Digital solutions & surveillance systems for patient safety) was chaired by Josep Figueras (Director, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, WHO Publication). I presented the involvement of the private sector in major questions on quality and safety, risk management including Cybersecurity. My speech was guided by our previous contacts with DG CONNECT, ENISA and DG SANTE concerning e-health. Following the concept of smart hospitals, that we had already published, the goal was to express patient privacy and safety as a focus to develop innovative solutions for the future limiting the risk of cyberattacks.
And UEHP was also invited to the CHAM Convention on Health Analysis and Management, inventing the future of health systems (in Chamonix, France) to present European experiences useful to improve national models which include the private sector. UEHP matters! And forums are now open to present our development.
October began with the UEHP voice in the Alps!
UEHP President
UEHP Council Meeting – Budapest, 11 October
Last 11 October, UEHP held its Council meeting in Budapest, kindly hosted by our Hungarian member, the Hungarian Association of Private Hospitals.
All UEHP members had the opportunity to learn more about medical treatment and private health care in Hungary, with an average of 6% GDP spent on health, with the tendency to decrease.
The participants also had the chance to meet and listen to Mr. Szabo Balint, Head of Department AEEK National Healthcare Service Center, who presented the development and improvement of the Hungarian National eHealth platform (EESZT).
The Hungarian national eHealth platform (EESZT) electronically stores information about the patients, connects all the Hungarian healthcare providers (such as hospitals, pharmacies, general practitioners) making it easier for physicians working in different institutions to access all important health information about the patient.
Then, the UEHP President, Dr Garassus, presented some of his recent actions with a focus on his participation as speaker at the European Health Forum in Gastein: with the support of Health First Europe (HFE), UEHP was for the very first time invited to be a speaker at this very important event. Dr. Garassus seized the opportunity to present the Factbook and inform the participants (politicians, academics, etc.) on the dimension (20% of all Hospital beds) and the position of the private sector in Europe, showing that private providers are active partners and contribute to the sustainability of healthcare systems all across Europe.
In the afternoon, all UEHP members listened to the presentation of Mr Oliver Bisazza, Director Regulations / industrial Policy at Medtech Europe, on «Implementation and Readiness status of he new medical Device regulation 745/2017 (MDR) – Why it matters to European Hospitals». The presentation was the opportunity to raise awareness among the UEHP members on the new Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) which will come into force in May 2020. There are major transition challenges for which hospitals will be on the frontline. Mr. Bisazza asked UEHP to join the conversation with other stakeholders, who are already discussing this problem. The addition of private hospitals’ voice to this conversation is essential.
Then all UEHP members were asked to particpate to a Round table and to contribute on:
  • Overview of the national Situation,
  • Main Initiatives and projects,
  • Priorities that you would see in the UEHP lobbying and advocating activities during the new legislative cycle.
The Round table proved to be very useful in order to identify common barriers faced by private hospitals in Europe and to define UEHP strategy.
As for the current and future activities, UEHP officially launched the cartography of private hospitals in Europe, an interactive map of private health facilities in EU Member States, which demonstrates with visual immediacy the irreplaceable role of our sector for the protection of citizens' health and the sustainability of European health systems; also, the new edition of the UEHP Factbook 2020 is a work in progress. The main topics chosen by UEHP members for this second edition are efficiency, patient satisfaction and investment in the private sector.
Finally, the second edition of the Master Class on Risk Management is scheduled on 22 January 2020, after the success of the first one on Risk Management with our correspondent member SHAM.
The next UEHP General Assembly will take place on 31 January 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland, kindly hosted by the Swiss Private Clinics.
A cartography of the European private hospitals
UEHP launched the cartography of the European private hospitals, members of UEHP, on 11 October in Budapest, during our Council meeting.
The project aims at showing, by means of an interactive map, that private hospitals are « part of the system » and that we are complementary to the public, because we serve the entire population and millions of patients benefit from our services every year in Europe. In a more colloquial way: “What will the NHS in the different countries be without all those dots on the chart?”.
On the initiative of our President, Dr Garassus, the project was sponsored by UEHP and Fondazione Sanità Futura (Italy).
UEHP at VPKA Visionen Awards & Annual Congress
Laureates VPKA Visionen Award 1 to 3. From left to right: Stefan Günther (VPKA), Karin Klas and Gabriele Giehser (WPK), Werner Fischl and Teresa Mang (PremiQaMed), Ilaria Giannico (UEHP), Elena Reghenzani, Christina Hattinger and Josef Macher (VPKA) © Foto Harald Steiner
Last 8-9 October, the Austrian Association of Private Hospitals (Verband der Privatkrankenanstalten Österreichs – VPKA) organised the Visionen Award & VPKA-Kongress 2019 in Schladmig (Austria).
The Visionen Award focused on innovative, forward-looking projects/ideas/concepts from the clinics member of VPKA, representing a strong, innovative, future-driven private health care sector.
"We award - innovative and pioneering ideas and projects: new therapeutic approaches, technical advancements, progressive ways to a better recovery or other future-oriented concepts and projects of Austrian private hospitals.„ (VPKA).
Ms Giannico, UEHP Secretary General, was invited by VPKA to be a jury member for the evaluation of the twelve projects received and running for the awards.
The three most innovative projects awarded concerned training of the workforce, patient safety, how to tackle workforce shortages.
Ms Giannico attended the award ceremony and thanked all participants for their great work to improving the services given to their patients. She added that it was a difficult decision because the level of the projects submitted was very high. She explained that three main criteria she used in the evaluation of the projects were:
  • The problem addressed
  • The EU added value
  • The replicability in other hospitals all over Europe
She thanked VPKA for this opportunity, a very nice and useful experience to understand what has been done nationally and help spread best practices at EU level.
EU MedTech Europe
EU Medical Device Regulation 745/2017 - implementation challenges could threaten the availability of medical devices for European hospitals 
UEHP welcomed MedTech Europe, the trade association representing the medical technology industry, as a guest to its 11 October Council meeting in Budapest.
At that meeting, MedTech Europe’s Director of Regulations & Industrial Policy, Oliver Bisazza, alerted UEHP members to potential upcoming disruptions to the supply and availability of many needed medical technologies for patients and hospitals in Europe.
As the 26 May 2020 deadline approaches for the EU Medical Devices Regulation 745/2017, the medical technology industry believes that we as the healthcare sector are facing a potential ‘cliff-edge’ scenario because of critical implementation challenges with the new Regulation.
The new Regulation has the laudable aim of further strengthening today’s existing approval system for medical devices – from implants to reusable surgical instruments or medical software.
To succeed, however, a fully revamped regulatory system must first be built and deployed. The manufacturers of medical devices will not only need to ensure that future product innovations comply with the new Regulation.  They are also required to get tens of thousands of existing medical devices recertified, in order to continue supplying these products to European hospitals after 26 May 2020.  This recertification process usually takes at least 3-9 months, depending on the complexity of the product. It also requires the involvement of certification bodies (called ‘Notified Bodies’), the vast majority of which are still being re-designated to the requirements of the new Regulation.
The considerable challenge at present is that of the 56 existing Notified Bodies in Europe, only 5 (i.e., less than 10% of the total) have been designated and may legally certify medical devices under the new Regulation. These 56 Notified Bodies can still certify medical devices according to the former EU Medical Devices Directives, but only until 26 May 2020, when the new Regulation will repeal and replace those Directives.  As things stand, the industry is reporting an enormous bottleneck on the side of the Notified Bodies, who are struggling to reissue more than 30,000 medical device certificates before the 26 May 2020 deadline.
MedTech Europe encourages all hospitals in Europe to treat this issue as one of absolute urgency, which needs immediate solutions if national healthcare systems are expected to continue providing the same level of care to patients as that provided today. Immediate and coordinated actions by national governments across Europe, along with the European Commission in Brussels, are required at an EU level to mitigate the risks.
MedTech Europe therefore asks hospitals to add their voices to the many stakeholder perspectives that have been shared regarding this topic during the past year, e.g., by patients, doctors, national governments and the industry, to ensure patient safety and continuity of care.  We all have a shared duty to patients, so let’s work together to keep devices available.
Upon request, UEHP members may receive copies of the slide deck that MedTech Europe presented to the UEHP Council on 11 October.
Call for expression of interests to appoint experts to scientific panels on medical devices
The European Commission has launched a call for expression of interests to appoint experts to scientific panels, which will need to provide consistent scientific, technical and/or clinical advice concerning the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices.
The Commission is looking for experts to provide input on market certification for high-risk medical devices. They will also contribute to the development of common specifications for the clinical evaluation of device categories, guidance documents and standards.
More information about the call: here
Interested? Submit your application by 10 November 2019.
VPKA Innovation prize 2019
Vienna Private Clinic wins Visionen Award
Vienna Private Clinic © Wiener Privatklinik
On 9 October the Visions Award of the Austrian Association of Private Hospitals (VPKA) was presented for the third time. Within the framework of the annual VPKA Congress, outstanding forward-looking projects in private clinics are honored. This year's winner is Vienna Private Clinic (Wiener Privatklinik), which was the first clinic in Austria to adapt the innovative concept of "One Minute Training" and has since successfully implemented it. The PremiQaMed private clinics came second with videos on patient safety. 3rd place also went to Wiener Privatklinik, which developed its own training concept for nursing interns.
"Austria's private clinics are thinking towards the future", announced Stefan Günther, General Secretary of VPKA. For the third year in a row, the member clinics were invited to submit progressive and trend-setting projects that were initiated by the various professional groups in the course of their daily work. "Never before have there been so many submissions as this year," said Günther. "We are pleased that our members promote the innovative strength of their employees so strongly. This always benefits the patients in the end."
Vienna Private Clinic wins first prize
Wiener Privatklinik was able to assert itself among the numerous applicants: The concept of "One Minute Training" (originally "One Minute Wonder"), originally developed and validated in England, was adapted and implemented for the first time in Austria under the direction of nursing scientist Karin Klas. It offers effective methods for integrating knowledge transfer in nursing into everyday working life. In a highly condensed form, learning boards convey specialist knowledge that can be read and recorded within a minute. The cards are placed at locations with regularly recurring waiting times, such as in the intensive care unit during a blood gas analysis. The nursing staff can also refresh elementary knowledge, such as emergency handling, without additional effort.
Ilaria Giannico, Secretary General of UEHP and member of the jury, confirmed the selection of the winning project: "The concept of One Minute Training can significantly relieve the resources of the staff! In addition, the treatment and safety of the patients are increased by up-to-date knowledge. I was impressed by the great impact that can be achieved with comparatively little effort. I am convinced that this concept will be imitated in many clinics in the future".
2nd and 3rd place respectively for PremiQaMed Private Clinics and Vienna Private Clinic
Patient safety was the focus of the 2nd place project: Under the motto "Check in and feel safe", Teresa Mang, Service Quality Representative at PremiQaMed Clinics, developed short films for patients based on the safety videos on the airplane. In the videos, the sensitive topic of safety is presented in such a way that the patients feel being in good hands, but not unsecure.
Wiener Privatklinik was also able to score again in 3rd place with a training concept for nursing interns developed by nursing director Gabriele Giehser and nursing scientist Karin Klas. The training concept "nursing interns optimally cared for", not only presents the clinic as an attractive employer, but also conveys a realistic picture of the nursing profession for career starters and is a professional support for interns - a project with future potential in times of lack of nursing staff.
Helios celebrates 25 years of company history
© Helios
It all starts with four clinics in Bad Schwartau, Bochum, Volkach and Bleicherode: In 1994, vascular surgeon Dr. Lutz Helmig founded the Helios Kliniken Group, today Europe's largest private hospital group with 86 acute care hospitals in Germany alone.
For company founder Dr. Helmig, satisfied and well-treated patients have been the basic prerequisite for the success of his company right from the start: "Every single measure must lead to a reduction in the suffering for which the patient visits the hospital," according to his maxim. For Helios, the continuous measurement, improvement and publication of treatment quality will therefore be the linchpin in the acquisition of new clinics and the basis for the company's dynamic development: When Helios is sold to the healthcare group Fresenius in 2005, 24 clinics are already part of the group.
And the company continues to grow - either through the acquisition of individual clinics or entire hospital groups - such as the Damp Kliniken Group in 2012. Finally, Helios will become an established hospital operator in Germany with the acquisition of 41 clinics from Rhön-Klinikum AG in 2014.
The successes of the Helios quality management system are so comprehensive that it forms the basis of the international Quality Medicine Initiative (IQM), which Helios initiated in 2008 and to which all hospitals, regardless of their status, can join. More than 400 clinics from Germany and Switzerland are members of IQM today.
With the acquisition of the Spanish private hospital group Quirónsalud in 2017, Helios begins its involvement in the foreign hospital market. The international holding company Helios Health unites Helios Germany and Quirónsalud under one roof since 2018.
Today, Helios is Europe's leading private hospital operator with a total of around 100,000 employees in Germany and Spain and annual sales of 9 billion euros. Every year, around 19 million people opt for medical treatment at Helios. In Germany, in addition to 86 clinics, 126 medical care centres (MVZs) and 10 prevention centres belong to Helios. Quirónsalud operates 47 clinics, 57 outpatient health centres and around 300 occupational health management facilities.
Many clinic locations celebrated the 25th anniversary of the company's birth over the summer. In very different ways - with sports events, theatre or large parties for employees. "Above all, this birthday is intended to be a celebration for our personnel, without whom the success of our company would not have been possible," says Franzel Simon, Helios Kliniken CEO. "They all deserve our great thanks for helping to shape the success of our company!"
Discover all the events in the HELIOS clinics on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
Book overview by Oscar Gaspar
“Everything you always wanted to know about European Union health policies but were afraid to ask” is the self-explanatory (ironic and pretentious) title of a book recently published by the World Health Organization and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
As is said in the foreword, “There is no European Union health system, but there is an EU health policy” and that health policy has an impact on the health of citizens, the way the systems are organized, and the way health activities are developed. Fully applying the principle of subsidiarity, health policies are fundamentally a national competence.
The book notes that the Lisbon Treaty, in addition to the specific article on public health (168), also includes health as an objective in the articles on environment (191), work and social policy (153, 156) and consumer protection (169). , in addition to Article 9 calling for all EU activity to take into account a “high level of protection of human health”.
This study recalls that, more recently, it has been made clear through the fiscal stability rules that the EU can directly interfere with fiscal policy decisions of Member States. Another noticeable aspect of the recommendations regarding various countries (Austria, Ireland, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia) is the link between aging and sustainability of health systems and long-term care (as well as pension systems). Indeed, the authors criticize the fact that health is often approached as a cost that will increase with aging, as pensions, rather than as an investment in reducing future costs and as a component of long-term social gains. On the other hand, Structural Funds can finance health investments and have done so, including in Portugal.
The study concludes that citizens want more health, but there is no movement to strengthen European competence in the sector. In any case, with the current legal and institutional framework, there is much that the EU can do for the health of Europeans.
Oscar Gaspar, President of the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals (APHP)
The fluidification of care and health paths:
The new method of service design and design thinking in health
The quality of care, the efficiency of organizational systems, the attractiveness of health institutions: these are all subjects that are at the heart of the challenges of the health system and the key issues of OZ'IRIS Santé. OZ'IRIS Santé proposes to approach the health pathways through the eyes of those primarily concerned: the patients themselves. This innovative approach is made possible by so-called design thinking and service design methods. The aim is to improve the quality of care.
OZ'IRIS Santé supports hospitals and clinics in understanding and analyzing patient pathways using methods from the humanities, social sciences and service design. Customer experience has long been talked about in other sectors, OZ'IRIS Santé applies this approach to the patient experience to improve the fluidity of health paths and promote the attractiveness of establishments. Concretely, it involves starting from a detailed analysis of the breaking points encountered by patients in their care or the dysfunctions identified by carers in their work, to model new processes that will improve the quality of health support.
OZ'IRIS Santé therefore uses the Design Thinking and Service Design method, specifically applied to health paths to develop innovative solutions.
Design Thinking: 3 phases
A first phase of immersion allows a qualitative analysis of needs. By collecting numerous testimonies from patients and carers and by observing the internal functioning of the institutions, OZ'IRIS Santé identifies the breaking points in the care processes.
The second step, called ideation, consists in modelling innovative solutions by promoting the consultation of multi-professional teams. "In co-construction with carers and patients, we imagine solutions based on these blocking points: new organizational models, personalized support solutions, digital health monitoring strategies, etc.". To feed this phase of creativity, OZ'IRIS Santé carries out research activities based on career models, remuneration models already proven in other sectors, institutions, countries....
Finally, the prototyping phase consists of testing in real life these new solutions, which will be tested and optimized based on feedback from healthcare professionals and patients. A specification is then drawn up. This is followed by the implementation phase of the process, which requires particular attention to support for the change of health care institutions.
For example, OZ'IRIS Santé is currently working with a nephrology network and is supporting the emergence of new organizational systems focused on patient experience. The two expected outcomes are: the improvement of the quality of care for nephrology patients and the development of the attractiveness of the structure, in particular through the integration of new coordination professions.
OZ'IRIS Santé has also contributed to improving the path of patients in bariatric surgery, by supporting the creation of a digital tool that makes it possible to improve their pre- and post-operative follow-up. This type of project is in line with the increasingly widespread implementation of the fast rehabilitation after surgery.
"Putting oneself in the patient's shoes for each care pathway" is essential to define an optimal organization, respectful of each person's trajectories, within the framework, for example, of an establishment project. The patient is at the heart of the system and the carers organise their care in an orchestrated way. The main objective of this organization is to take into account its well-being.
Tomorrow patient pathways will be "made-to-measure". Care pathways that have been studied ahead allow establishments to use their resources advisedly, to convey a positive image of their organization and to experiment with new and more relevant funding models. In France, for example, models of remuneration per patient journey are already being studied.
22 January
UEHP - SHAM Master Class on Risk Management
31 January
UEHP General Assembly