“The future of health”: Mike Fairbourn

12 December 2014

Partnership to standardise care

The NHS has no sustainable alternative than to embrace new technologies in order to improve patient outcomes and, as a consequence, reduce the cost of healthcare delivery. This thinking goes to the heart of innovative medical technology companies who are investing for the future to bring solutions to market which will deliver health improvements and avoid costs of poor care.

The CareFusion Focus on Quality Care (CFQC) programmes help healthcare organisations to standardise evidence based best practice and reduce the costly consequences of variability in the delivery of care.

The new emphasis from Government on improving patient outcomes in order to reduce the costs of providing healthcare is welcome.

This change in emphasis is influencing suppliers of innovative technologies, like CareFusion, to think differently about their relationships with customers. However, the pace of change is too slow. A report by Frontier Economics published earlier this year estimates that the cost to the NHS of poor care is about £2.5 billion, and the Secretary of State for Health has stated that the variation in care which exists across the country and even within healthcare facilities is unacceptable.

There are countless examples where innovations to improve the quality of outcomes for patients fail to live up to the expectations demonstrated in randomised controlled trials. Part of the reason for this may be down to patient exclusion criteria in the trials but often it is because the innovative technology has not been implemented fully and in the way the manufacturers intended. This represents an opportunity for clinicians and suppliers to work more closely together to make sure that, once the decision has been made to introduce a new technology, a plan is agreed to implement fully and faultlessly.

The CFQC programmes themselves embrace new technology to support training, implementation and monitoring of compliance. Our focus is on two programmes currently: infection prevention and medication safety. The CFQC process helps improve effectiveness (doing the right task, completing activities and achieving goals) and efficiency (the best outcomes in the least expensive way). For CFQC to have the greatest impact it needs buy-in and endorsement from the Trust board and a level of trust on both sides. If we are to put value at the heart of the NHS, I believe we need to have much greater trust between NHS and industry, and CFQC is a controlled way to start to develop this.

The recent publication of NHS England’s implications for industry. The 5YFV states that innovation is going to be taken more seriously, with test bed sites being introduced probably via academic health science networks. Operational pilots will be introduced to generate evidence and outmoded legacy medical technologies will be decommissioned. Positive words for the CareFusion, we stand ready to work in partnership to help turn the words into reality. We have heard these fine sentiments before, of course, but I am convinced by the analysis and arguments that the NHS has no sustainable alternative. It must embrace new technologies to improve patient outcomes in order to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery, not just now, but for generations to come.

Mike Fairbourn, Vice President, UK & Ireland, CareFusion

This blog was taken from an article written for the brochure that accompanied Reform’s major health conference on the 2 December 2014.



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