BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) is spearheading efforts to enhance patient safety in the region and further developing solutions that will help reduce infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its quest to support a safer environment in the future. In an interview with Fiona Garin—Vice President of Strategic Marketing, BD EMEA, we discussed the need for the adoption of medical technology to enhance the patient safety stance in the region and how it will lead to a reduction of medical errors.
Can you tell us about the MedTech solutions BD was showcasing during Arab Health & Medlab? How important were they in enhancing the patient safety stance in the region?
Events such as Arab Health give us a platform to help drive awareness on the burden of disease, cost associated with patient safety and to connect our innovation to support healthcare practitioners solve their daily challenges in this area. It allows us to continue to learn from our customers and to use those learnings to feed our innovation strategy with the purpose of improving patient outcomes and experience through the reduction of adverse events and errors.
This year we kept patients at the heart of the experience. Our Medical and Interventional team of experts presented insightful sessions at Arab Health, highlighting imperative medical technology trends and best practices through Patient Safety Talks, as well as demonstrating a range of solutions through ghost screen technology. In parallel and at the Medlab show, our Lifesciences team similarly showcased our innovations that help expand laboratory outcomes; from reducing preanalytical errors, automating processes to improving efficiency and standardising workflows, with the aim to deliver reliable results to enhance patient safety.
Fiona Garin—Vice President of Strategic Marketing, BD EMEA
The need for patient safety has gained importance in the last two years, can you elaborate on this and discuss the role medical technology and innovations play in reducing medical errors.
We know that the initial impact of the pandemic was a devastating blow across industries, with healthcare being the one hardest hit. Frontline workers were incredibly overwhelmed having to manage both existing patients as well as new admissions due to the pandemic. Additionally, organisations have had to quickly adapt their strategies and approaches to address changes in the environment including an accelerated digital transformation. Lastly, healthcare systems experienced remarkable supply shortages posing safety risks for patients and healthcare workers.
Patient safety is now more important than ever. The pandemic has brought to the surface things that were working well in institutions and areas that needed to be improved and many surveys highlight that increased number of staff shortages and staff burnout have contributed to an increase in adverse events. These staffing shortages, combined with a surge in hospitalisation due to the pandemic, has led to increased nurse-patient ratios at many facilities, impacting morbidity and mortality.
Improvement in quality of service, as well as safety of patients and healthcare workers, are among the main lessons learnt during the pandemic. What our customers have shared with us is those who had driven concerted efforts and implemented interventions to protect patients from errors, or adverse events seem to have been more prepared when the pandemic hit, including medication errors. This included investing in innovative medication management solutions which helped them embed safety and quality in their daily work at all levels of the organisation. It helped them automate tasks, facilitate information sharing, reduce variation in practice, intercept potential errors and address staff shortages and turnover and show a commitment to their workforce, by enabling them to spend more quality time with their patients.
At BD, we consider this to be our prime responsibility to equip healthcare providers with the latest medical technology so that we can together enhance the healthcare posture of the region and continue to impact lives.
We will continue to drive innovation, introducing novel solutions, and train medical professionals so that healthcare providers are always prepared to maintain the quality of safety through a similar crisis, be it at a steady pace or accelerated by unfortunate events.
In an ideal world, no patients are harmed during healthcare. Yet, it is estimated that 1 in 10 patients are harmed during hospital admission, can you comment on healthcare-acquired infections and the consequence they carry?
Healthcare-associated infections are one of the most common complications affecting patients in hospital. As well as causing unnecessary pain and suffering for patients and their families, they typically prolong hospital stay, potentially cause long-term disability, increase the likelihood of resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobials, incur a massive additional financial burden for health systems, results in high financial and quality of life-related costs for patients and their families and leads to excess deaths. Additional to the burden of disease and additional costs, healthcare-associated infections (HAI) can affect institutional reputation and increase litigation costs.
To address HAIs, institutions and HCPs can drive increased compliance with best practice clinical guidelines and procedures implementation to reduce associated morbidity and mortality impacting clinician performance and efficiency, drive increased diagnostic accuracy and timeliness including faster diagnosis leading to better clinical decision-making and optimise and standardise workflows, processes, and procedures across the patient journey.
Post-operative surgical site infections and medication errors carry deliberating consequences as well, can you speak about this and comment on solutions?
Surgical site infections (SSIs) happen to be the most common type of healthcare associated infections among surgical patients and are commonly caused by the patient’s collective bacteria and other microorganisms.
At BD, we aim to get to the source of the infection. For example, we understand that effective skin antisepsis is vital in preventing the spread of pathogens. For these specific incidents, we have developed a skin antisepsis preparation that offers improved efficacy and overall cost savings.
Furthermore, in compliance with recommendations, BD surgical clippers protect against micro-abrasions helping to lower SSIs rates. And to keep flash sterilisation of surgical instruments to a minimum, our Instrument Tracking System increases the productivity of a medical facility’s Sterile Process Department.
As far as medication errors, standardisation processes, full traceability, automation, and closed-loop medication management are crucial to reducing reported incidents of errors. We remain committed to breaking the harmful cycle of medication errors by simplifying medication management that results in better patient safety and practices in measurable ways.
With our proven technologies, such as automated medication storage, medication dispensing and point of care verification, HCPs can lower costs, improve patient safety, and better enable clinicians to deliver the right care to their patients at the right time.
Presently it is estimated that 63·5 per cent of cases of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria are associated with healthcare, can you elaborate on this?
Resistant infections can lead to higher mortality and are often more expensive to treat than susceptible infections. Additionally, the same infections are found to increase the excess length of stay in a medical facility by a significant number of days.
Apart from the medical and financial burdens on hospitals, antimicrobial resistance leads to an organisational burden within the hospital, such as patient isolation.
Care providers must overcome the challenges in patient screening and the implementation of evidence-based practice interventions to battle against bacterial infections through safer antibiotic therapy. Furthermore, an integrated stewardship model with a holistic approach based on antimicrobial, infection prevention and diagnostics can significantly improve the medical environment by effectively fighting off antimicrobial resistance.
We would like to partner with healthcare systems, institutions, and clinicians to build a culture of safety and drive accountability where safety is flowing through every person and every system leveraging improved technologies, services, and capabilities. By being present at multiple stages of the patient journey our intent is to support an overarching shift from reactive piecemeal intervention to a total systems approach by developing and supporting the implementation of safe, innovative, and optimised technology that improves patient safety.