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Events – cross-border aspects of access to primary angioplasty

On 3 June 2013, ECCF, together with Stent for Life Initiative were invited to brief the European Commission's Committee on the Patient Rights Directive on Cross-border Healthcare. Improving access to primary angioplasty provides a text-book example of where sharing of best practices and improved collaboration between stakeholders can improve outcomes for patients.

  • When acute heart attacks occur, timely, effective intervention is key to improving patient outcomes and therefore reducing the risk of further cardiovascular events. For each 30 minute delay, the relative risk of 1 year mortality increases by 7.5%. This means that ensuring optimal patient outcomes depends on timely emergency response systems and care.

  • Action to overcome barriers in access to p-PCI requires mobilising multiple partners – health service providers, hospital staff, emergency transport services, patient organisations, policy makers and the general public. The various geographic, economic, organisational and structural barriers that impede access become even more challenging to resolve in a cross-border context.

  • The Patients’ Rights Directive in Cross-border Healthcare aims to encourage cooperation between national health authorities in access to diagnosis and delivery of high-quality, accessible and cost-effective healthcare through the establishment of the European Reference Networks (ERN). In the case of patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction, effective organisation of expertise and resources can help reduce mortality and morbidity, through establishment of non-stop 24/7 coverage organised across borders.

  • Other elements of best practice could be captured in protocols between cross-border regions. These include logistical aspects concerning patient transportation, improvements in the quantity and quality of data collection through common registries for p-PCI activities, joint training and certification schemes earmarked for healthcare professionals, use of the same 112 emergency number and development of awareness-raising campaigns to increase public knowledge on the symptoms of acute heart attacks.

Read more about the ECCF and Stent for Life Initiative Alliance.

See the slide presentation made at the European Commission's Committee on the Cross Border Healthcare Directive

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