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Highlighting patient safety and quality in Argentina

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On day two of Omnia Health Live Americas, the ‘Quality and patient security – International systems’ session focused on the state of patient safety in Argentina

Argentina’s healthcare system is one of the most fragmented and segmented in the Americas. This kind of system has the challenge of coordination, access and equality, explained Viviana E Rodriguez, MD, PhD, CPPS, Coordinator of Quality, Patient Safety and Clinical Management Department, IECS, Argentina, a panellist at the 'Quality and patient Security – International systems', on day two of Omnia Health Live Americas.

However, she said that the country has one of the highest investments in healthcare in the Americas. The country has spent more than 8 per cent of its GDP on healthcare and has the highest number of ICU’s in Latin America. But there are still problems in processes and outcomes.

Rodriguez said that COVID-19 showed the region the importance of needing more collaboration. “Quality and safety are the foundation of healthcare and healthcare is a human right. So, we should be thinking about collaboration to build standards among the countries to improve healthcare services,” she highlighted.

Argentina has quality and safety regulations in place and each province can select which guidelines they can follow and that can prove to be challenging.

“We have a National Quality Direction that regulates a national programme and is more related to policies, clinical guidelines and patient safety goals. Some of these were written 10 years ago. This programme was started in 1992 and was validated only three years ago, which highlights the long-time taken to comply with regulation,” she stressed.

Importance of patient safety regulations

While the country has been working very well in some respects, such as having good outcomes in mother and child health, in some other parts of the system and in dealing with the other diseases, the results vary.

According to reports, in 2016, 39,000 deaths could have been prevented by the health system, about three-quarters of which were due to poor quality. Currently, Argentina has 80 accredited hospitals, of which only three have been accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

“Regulations, users voice and leadership all need to be present in order to foster quality and safety. Argentina invests a lot of money to give people access to healthcare. Despite this effort, people don’t get access and, therefore, the outcomes are not as good as it could be. The country needs to develop more regulations and reinforce user engagement and education to improve the results of the system,” Rodriguez concluded.

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