Innovative strategies for health promoting hospitals and health services
The International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals & Health Services (HPH), which continues to be supported by the WHO, boasts more than 600 member institutions in 19 countries across the globe.At the beginning of the year, OptiMedis took over management of the German Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services – known as the "Deutsches Netz Gesundheitsfördernder Krankenhäuser und Gesundheitseinrichtungen e.V” in German, or DNGfK for short. Over 20 years ago, the DNGfK was developed out of an initiative of the World Health Organization, initiated by health reformer Prof. Dr. Ilona Kickbusch. The associated pilot project "Health Promoting Hospitals" has been helping hospitals to introduce health-promoting concepts since the early 1990s. International cooperation has given rise to numerous networks throughout Europe, in which hospitals, rehabilitation centres and care facilities are networked at either a national or a regional level. Currently,
"In times of discussion regarding the skilled worker shortage, health literacy, and regional cross-sector networking, the concept of "health promotion" in health care institutions holds enormous potential – in terms of business management, ethics, society, and for individual employees or patients," stresses Dr. Oliver Gröne, head of the DNGfK's office. "In our service and interface-providing role, we want to seize the opportunity to better integrate inpatient care into regional care structures. If we wish to create added value across sectoral borders, we must establish new collaborative structures and intensively pursue the transfer of knowledge".
At the DNGfK symposium at the end of September, health care institution decision-makers, scientific experts, and project cooperation partners discussed how strategies could look with regards to working towards consistent, cross-patient, cross-employee and cross-sector care that is geared towards the health promotion. Dr. Rainer Christ, scientific advisor to the Austrian Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services, was present at the launch of the event and provided insights into the Austrian counterpart of the DNGfK.
Utilising international synergies
"Particular support is given to our institutions with regards to becoming smoke-free, ‘baby-friendly’ and ‘age-friendly’. In addition, we are focussing on supporting new primary care institutions on the path towards integrated care," reports Christ, highlighting the many opportunities for cooperation between the German and Austrian networks: "We look forward to exchanging ideas with the DNGfK – in working groups, meetings, conferences and, looking to the longer term, perhaps with shared facilities, as well. In doing so, we can benefit from developments in the international HPH network, where numerous topic-specific guidelines have already been developed".
In order to keep the network members up-to-date on international trends and "best practice" experiences, DNGfK representatives attended the 26th HPH conference on "health promoting strategies to achieve reorientation of health services: evidence-based policies and practices" in Bologna.
Targeting strategic issues, cooperation and member recruitment
Following from the intensive discussions at the symposium, new DNGfK working groups will be set up to work on different issues, including "patient-reported outcome measures". PROMs describe the outcome quality of a treatment from the patient's perspective and are becoming increasingly important regarding the quality of patient-oriented care. The measurement method is one of the three strategic themes of the DNGfK, which supports its members in implementing it in practice. Another focus is on innovative digital solutions, especially in the field of discharge management. In order to help healthcare institutions on their path to digitisation, the network, in collaboration with OptiMedis' Digital & Health Innovation Centre, regularly informs its member institutions about innovative digital solutions and their implementation.
"Health promotion – properly and consistently applied – benefits each individual patient and employee and, at the same time, gives healthcare facilities a decisive advantage in quality competition, all while counteracting profitability problems," stresses Dr. Oliver Gröne, who explains that work is ongoing with regards to gaining new members and establishing strong national and international co-operations, which are important for solidifying social impact and political visibility.
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