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Report: $28 billion saved through patient safety efforts

Accreditation Insider, December 13, 2016

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Efforts to improve patient safety are paying off, according to a new Health and Human Services (HHS) department report. Between 2010 and 2015, increased patient safety efforts have:
•    prevented 3.1 million hospital-acquired conditions (HAC), a 21% decline
•    saved 125,000 lives
•    saved $28 billion in healthcare costs

In the announcement, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell cited the Affordable Care Act as a major cause of the improvement in patient safety.

"The Affordable Care Act gave us tools to build a better healthcare system that protects patients, improves quality, and makes the most of our healthcare dollars and those tools are generating results," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. "Today’s report shows us hundreds of thousands of Americans have been spared from deadly hospital-acquired conditions, resulting in thousands of lives saved and billions of dollars saved."

There are other federal patient safety efforts mentioned in the report as aiding in patient safety improvement. Among those cited were the Partnership for Patients initiative, a public-private partnership launched in 2011 though CMS Innovation to target a specific HACs. CMS also worked with hospital networks and aligned payment incentives to improve focus on making care safer.

“These achievements demonstrate the commitment across many public and private organizations and frontline clinicians to improve the quality of care received by patients across the county," said Patrick Conway, MD, deputy administrator and chief medical officer at CMS. "It is important to remember that numbers like 125,000 lives saved or over 3 million infections and adverse events avoided represent real value for people across the nation who received high quality care and were protected from suffering a terrible outcome. It is a testament to what can be accomplished when people commit to working towards a common goal.”

The report also had a breakdown of different types of HACs and their reduction over the last five years.
The biggest reductions were to
•    Adverse drug events (42% reduced)
•    Pressure ulcers (23% reduced)
•    Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (15%)

This report is tempered by the fact that last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that contradicts some of the HHS’ findings on hospital-acquired infections. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provided the data for the HHS report. 
 



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