The European hospital and healthcare services are at the forefront of the battle against the outbreak of COVID-19. Considering that all the energies should be focused on dealing with this pandemic, in view of all the evidence and advice received, and having undertaken a risk assessment the HOPE Board of Governors has taken the most appropriate and proportionate decision by postponing to 2021 (for the first time since its creation 40 years ago) its HOPE Exchange Programme and the HOPE Agora closing it.
Warning: due to Covid-19 crisis the 2020 HOPE Exchange Programme was postponed to 2021. 2020 hosts and 2020 participants will be asked if they are willing to join in 2021. Participants accepted for the 2020 do not need to re-apply and have the priority for participating in the 2021 HOPE Exchange Programme
The theme for HOPE Agora 2021 is “Using Evidence in Healthcare Management”. It directly follows and builds on the previous HOPE Agora 2019 which topic was “Evidence-Informed Decision-making in Healthcare Management”.
Since the establishment of the term “evidence-based medicine” in the 1980s, the call for a more systematic use of evidence has spread to other areas, such as health policymaking and management. This approach means that policy-making and managerial decisions should be based on best available evidence and not on beliefs and long-established practices.
For the purposes of the HOPE Agora 2021, the broadest possible understanding of the term “evidence” will be used. Such an understanding includes findings from scientific publications, ranging from randomized control trials to case reports. It also includes local evidence, which is the contextual information necessary to take a decision. Examples of such contextual information are analysis of locally available data, gathering information from stakeholders and considering the cultural, political, administrative and other settings which may influence a decision.
The use of evidence in management should not be perceived as a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a way of thinking about how to make decisions at three levels: national/regional; top management level of hospital and healthcare services; unit/department level. Many examples are available in the report of the HOPE Agora 2019 (http://www.hope.be/hope_agora_2019/).
In order to identify the up-to-three good practices, the participants are invited to check from where evidence is coming, within which process they are used and with which results.
The conference will host experts in this field and the HOPE Exchange Programme participants, who visited a foreign country to learn about how these issues are tackled in a different setting. In increasingly complex health systems, the ability to use all types of available evidence to improve decision-making in healthcare is crucial to ensure that citizens are offered the best care possible.
Highlighted topic: Beyond hospital data – from hospital performance to system performance
A session is organised in collaboration with OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and HealthPros, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network for Healthcare Performance Intelligence Professionals.
In 2019, in collaboration with the HealthPros researchers, the use of performance data for evidence-based decision-making was explored by managers involved with the HOPE Exchange programme. The aim was to find out why, what and how performance data is collected, reported and used in routine managerial work. During the 2019 Ljubljana AGORA, preliminary results of this work were presented and engaged participants in a very lively discussion on the topic. More information is available in the 2019 AGORA Report. Detailed results were published in an open access academic paper later in 2020 available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0231345.
One can argue (and discuss!) that, among healthcare organisations, hospitals have progressed furthest in the measurement, reporting and use of performance data for evidence-based managerial decision-making.
Now, expanding on last year’s work, and in the context of the experience gained with the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, we want to engage in a conversation on hospital performance in the broader context of the healthcare system. What happens to hospital patients before and after they “use” hospital services? Which information “comes with” a patient to the hospital and which information “leaves with” him or her after discharge? To what extent are hospital episodes managed as part of broader disease pathways? What are the existing feedback loops and options for monitoring care pathways with aggregated patient data? There have been discussions about integrated care for at least 20 years now – to what extent do you see your work “integrated” in the broader delivery system? Which care processes do exist as integrated care pathways? What are the linkages and what are performance metrics for integrated care? How successful are we in making a shift from measuring hospital performance to measuring system performance? What is the role of patients in this process? How does a population-based approach to care provision influence operational use of performance data in your workplace?
We specifically are eager on looking at this topic from a perspective of operational-level managers in the system. The results will be used as input for discussions at the OECD on the broadening from hospital performance measurement to the measurement and governance of integrated health care delivery systems.