The Expert Panel on Effective ways of Investing in Health (EXPH) was asked to provide an opinion on a possible future EU agenda on quality of health care with a special emphasis on patient safety. Specifically, the EXPH was asked:
to consider the core dimensions of quality of health care, including patient safety in the EU;
to define the dimensions that should be given priority at EU level in order to improve quality of health care as well as the actions that could be taken at EU level to address the selected dimensions;
to demonstrate what would be the added value of proposed EU actions;
to specify what information is needed to assess quality and safety of health care in the EU.
These issues are considered in the context of the Directive on Cross Border Health Care (Directive 2011/24/EU). The EXPH opinion emerges from and relies on the main findings from a literature review, jointly carried out with the European Commission, as well as from the evaluation of the former EU projects on quality/safety within the Framework Programs 5, 6, and 7.
The EXPH identified a subset of commonly accepted dimensions of quality/safety applicable to all health services, which should be prioritized at EU level. Indeed, regardless of the level of health care provided, all services have to be effective, safe, appropriate, patient-centred, efficient and equitable. With regard to the information
needed to assess quality and safety of health care in the EU, the EXPH highlight a subset of indicators potentially suitable to quantify these quality/safety core dimensions. In addition, the EXPH acknowledges that the EU 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 utilisation of a comprehensive conceptual framework in relation to quality and safety;
guideline development and the interprofessional sharing of good practices;
funding research related to quality and safety;
economic issues related to the defined quality dimensions;
education and training in relation to 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;