Thomas Zeltner: Lack of hygiene standards means patients' health is jeopardised inside hospital

The Chairman of the Board of KPT Health Insurance; former Secretary of Health of Switzerland and Director-General of the Swiss National Health Authority spoke on the topic of “Healthcare reform: A European perspective on how to succeed” at the event, Transforming healthcare – health policy, digital health and data privacy: Who pays the bill? at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue. The conference, hosted by Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and Emory Healthcare, explored best practice, economics and digital security in the healthcare industry.

Click here for more information about the event.

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“We're getting older. We all know that the chronic diseases are in the population beyond 65. That drives costs up. Secondly, it's really innovation. New products. It's new medications, new procedures. That's actually the most important factor, putting a new price tag every year on health care. The third one is an interesting one, is prosperity. Communities, countries, societies, which get richer, spend more on health. These are the three factors. The dominant factor actually is new products, new processes and innovation.

The US is actually doing quite badly when you compare what they spent on health. We all think it has to do with the lack of coverage. It is still a part of the population is not covered. Part of the population is under covered. You have really to pay part of your medication yourself, making that people then are not able to get it. That brings bad health outcomes.

We do know now by many studies that many, many people actually get harmed in the health care system. I think that this is the lowest hanging fruit. We know how we should repair that. How we can prevent infections in hospitals. How we can prevent messing up medications, etc. I think we need to work on that first. That's the basis of quality. Health insurance plan should actually build in their contracts with hospitals, but also with ambulatory care, provisions asking for minimal quality standards, like, let's say, clean hands in all hospitals. If that's not done, then the insurance companies shouldn't pay.”