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close this bookFact sheet No 172: Health Promotion - Encouraging healthy systems - Reviewed June 1998 (WHO, 1998, 3 p.)
close this folderHealth Promotion: Encouraging healthy systems
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCASE STUDY 1 - Using a tobacco tax to finance health promotion
View the documentCASE STUDY 2 - Health-promoting hospitals
View the documentCASE STUDY 3 - A healthy city in Malaysia

CASE STUDY 2 - Health-promoting hospitals

In 1988, the European Region of the World Health Organization (EURO) recommended that the hospital, as the centre of the modern medical and health care system, focus on promoting health. That same year, a pilot project began in Vienna, Austria, at the Rudolfstiftung Hospital.

Through 1996, 12 projects to create better health for patients, hospital staff and the population in the community were carried out. Health of patients was promoted by reducing hospital infections, an education programme was included in the standard treatment of diabetics, the quality of nursing services was enhanced, staff satisfaction increased through organizational and personnel development projects, while the overall organization of the hospital was also improved.

Based on this experience, 19 European hospitals in 11 countries initiated similar pilot projects starting in 1993. By April 1997, 150 sub-projects, planned according to local needs and available resources, had been undertaken. The majority were aimed at improving the health of patients, but almost half included activities aimed at improving the health of staff and of the population in the community, and at helping the hospital as a whole develop into a “healthy organization”.

Most of these sub-projects were carried out within the normal hospital budget, relying to a large extent on voluntary work contributed by staff. Only 13 of these projects have had to be cancelled and most of the others are now part of normal hospital routine.

In a further development, a European Project of National and Regional Networks of Health-Promoting Hospitals (HPH) was initiated in 1995. By 1997 HPH networks had been set up in 15 European countries, as well as Australia and Canada.

An HPH promotes patients’ health through the reduction of risks associated with hospital stays by continuously improving services. An HPH also uses acute episodes of illness or injury to promote health - by providing or organizing rehabilitation, empowering patients to successfully prevent disease and cope with chronic illness, and furthering continuity of care by cooperating with primary health care organizations. An HPH should allocate its resources according to the health gain the services are capable of providing.

An HPH pays attention to the health of its staff. Awareness of the creation of biological, chemical, psychosocial and other risks at hospital workplaces is followed by policies and measures to reduce these risks.

An HPH modifies its services to reduce risks for the community stemming from dangerous waste. It builds alliances for continuous care, early risk detection and population-based prevention and health promotion. An HPH is an agent for the development of health in the community.

In Europe, the HPH network is being coordinated by WHO-EURO and the Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute for the Sociology of Health and Medicine in Vienna, Austria (and is sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health).