Initiatives to improve patient information key to health in Europe


Initiatives to improve patient information key to health in Europe

Lodz, Poland, 26 November 2009 – Patients’ representatives and public health organizations in Europe today highlighted the need for access to high quality patient information while recognizing the important role of patients’ organizations as information providers. These were the key messages at a press conference promoting a new Policy Statement on Patient Information, developed by the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO), on the occasion of the second joint European Public Health Conference held by the European Public Health Association (EUPHA).

“Patient information is essential to Europeans receiving high quality care”, says Jolanta Bilinska, Polish Board Member of IAPO. “Without information we cannot learn what is right and begin to question the things that go wrong”, Bilinska explains, also Chair of the Patient Safety Foundation, Poland. “Common standards for patient information in Germany and Poland make sense. Neighbouring citizens are users of both national health systems.” More than 150,000 Polish workers are estimated to work in Germany annually.

In addition, Ramazan Salman, the Turkish Executive Managing Director of the Ethno-Medical Centre (EMZ), noted that “Close links also exist between Germany and Turkey”. “Language barriers existing in Europe need to be overcome to provide patient information. EMZ provides health information in over 90 languages to migrants living in Germany. “Patients and patients’ organizations in Europe are making medical knowledge more easily accessible today”.

“We support the active participation and involvement of patients in care and information across the WHO European region”, adds Diana Delnoij, EUPHA. “Mobility in Europe is a challenge to the traditional ways of patient information.” The EUPHA annual conference in Lodz addresses the broader issues of health in Europe. “In times of limited funding for health improvements, health information can lead to savings that are of benefit to the patients”, explains Walter Deville, of Utrecht University. “Staying healthy and getting well are the best outcomes of increased health literacy. Migrants are the largest minority across Europe – they should be enabled to learn more about health systems and patient information is key to this.”

The press conference introduced the German, Polish and Turkish versions of the IAPO Policy Statement on Patient Information. The organizers of the press conference are committed to spreading standards and engaging more organizations to support the initiative across Europe.

IAPO’s Policy Statement on Patient Information was adopted in October 2009 following consultation with IAPO member patients’ organizations and agreement by the Governing Board.


Note to Editors:

About Ethno-Medical Center (EMZ): EMZ is currently transferring its health literacy project “AIDS & Mobility” to Turkey, Denmark, Estonia, Italy and the UK. Upcoming EMZ event: International Migrants Day, 18 Dec 2009: Demographic development and Health. EMZ is home to Europe’s largest health programme for migrants in 48 sites in Germany. It is an organization by migrants for migrants.

About EUPHA: EUPHA is the European Association of professional national public health organizations with a total of over 12,000 members. EUPHA convenes the European Conference in Lodz from November 25-28 2009.

About Patient Safety Foundation, Poland: Patients Safety Foundation objective is to take a good care of patients’ safety within the health care system, and in particular to engage with the communities to identify problems and provide solutions improving people’s health condition. The Foundation’s tasks range up to protection and promotion of health, charity, activities on behalf of disabled people, activities aiming at European integration and extending contacts and cooperation between societies, volunteer work promotion and organization.

About IAPO: IAPO is the only global alliance representing patients of all nationalities across all disease areas and promoting patient-centred healthcare worldwide. Our members are patients’ organizations working at the local, national, regional and international levels to represent and support patients, their families and carers. IAPO’s has 200 members which span over 40 countries and 50 disease areas and through membership represents an estimated 365 million patients worldwide.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Jeremiah Mwangi, Senior Policy Officer, IAPO

Tel: +44 20 7953 7613; Email:



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