During the XLIV SIFO (Italian Society of Hospital Pharmacy) National Congress held in Rome from October 5th to 8th, Deenova welcomed Professor Andrea Cambieri, Medical Director of Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, to its booth. Professor Cambieri discussed with Fulvio Rudello, Deenova’s Director of Operations, the recognition received by the IRCCS Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic as the best Italian hospital according to Newsweek, and the new decree from the Ministry of Health regarding medical device traceability.
FR: Newsweek, the renowned US magazine, recently published its fifth annual analysis of the world’s best hospitals, in collaboration with the research company Statista Inc. In total 2,300 hospitals in 28 countries, including Italy, were evaluated. At the top of the list of the best Italian hospitals stands the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome. Congratulations are certainly well-deserved at this point. In your opinion, what were the determining factors in achieving this outstanding result?
AC: Since Newsweek started publishing these rankings we have consistently performed very well: in the latest analysis we are the top hospital in Italy and thirty-eighth worldwide. This is a source of pride for us, considering the number and, above all, the quality of hospitals included in the rankings of the best facilities on the planet. We reached this level thanks to great teamwork which managed to combine the excellence of individual clinics with intense organizational efforts aimed at highlighting and tracking quality, while involving all professionals in continuous improvement activities.
Being recognised as the best hospital in Italy emphasizes the commitment of the Gemelli Polyclinic to quality and patient care. Could you elaborate on the specific initiatives or programs that contribute to ensuring a world-class level of healthcare and how you engage staff and the community in promoting these high standards?
The path that led us to excellence certainly passes through the Joint Commission International accreditation process. Two years ago, we obtained the first international certification at this level, as the result of a commitment undertaken many years earlier that involved all health professions in a relentless pursuit of quality. In June 2024 we will face recertification, which is equally challenging. It is necessary to involve staff through training and information sessions, as well as the so-called tracer activities, which involve field verification of individual records and individual patients for quality and compliance with Joint Commission standards. The project, therefore, continues day after day and also includes simulated inspections to measure the achievement and maintenance of required standards.
The Ministry of Health has recently issued a new decree concerning the traceability of medical devices through the obligation to register the UDI code. The Gemelli Polyclinic has already been maintaining UDI registration for years, already complying with future developments of this requirement. Could you share further details on this initiative?
We implemented traceability of surgery room medical devices from the very beginning. The process started in 2015 and through the partnership with Deenova, relies on cutting-edge technological solutions that have effectively relieved the nursing staff of the obligation to both record consumption and daily check for expiry dates or non-compliance with operating theatre logistics, as the system does this automatically. Thus, we have focused professionals on their specific activities: patient care for nurses, and the fine logistics of devices with safety and quality control for the pharmacists.
What tangible results have been achieved through the implementation of these systems for medical device traceability at the Gemelli Polyclinic?
We are very satisfied with this system, which is also continuously evolving: together with Deenova we have invented and implemented simple original solutions to improve the service and make it more effective. One of the main advantages is, of course, cost control, because at this point we are able to finely track who uses what, and why. Therefore, we can capillarily verify the appropriateness of consumption and compliance with protocols, assigning each consumption to each surgeon, each unit, and each procedure. But there is more: we also avoid stockouts and potentially dangerous situations for patient safety, monitor products nearing expiration, as well as any logistical misalignments that may lead to problems in retrieving the device even if present but in the wrong location within the surgery department.
Considering the high standard of excellence achieved, what are the key strategies and projects that Gemelli Polyclinic intends to implement to preserve and improve the quality of healthcare in the near future and maintain its leadership in Italy?
Quality and leadership are maintained through daily and shared work by all professionals. The Joint Commission certification is one of the tools we have used. Another tool we are pursuing is to set up the hospital with a focus on ‘value best healthcare’, i.e. building patient-centred pathways rather than focusing on operational units or so-called organisational silos of care. Clearly, this is a challenging transformation, because it calls into play all skills and requires a change of mind that forces us to step out of our comfort zone to seek a new positioning. Yet, we believe that this is the path not only to maintain our excellence, but to improve even further.