At the end of 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the progress being made against healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) and other adverse events in U.S. hospitals. Over the last three years, “50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health care costs were saved.” These improvements are occurring because hospitals across the country are making patient safety a priority. This blog highlights some of the progress being made across the country.
One hundred and eight Wisconsin hospitals saw a reduction in HAIs and realized $87 million in healthcare savings, reports Becker’s Infection Control and Clinical Quality. The hospitals reached these milestones by “reducing avoidable hospital readmissions, decreasing infections and preventing medication errors.”
The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) credits much of the gains to the use of Harm Across the Board Reports. In addition to tracking overall hospital safety improvement, the reports make it clear that common errors are not just creating statistics and percentages, but are causing real harm to real people. This eliminates any confusion for staff and non-clinical stakeholders.
According to the New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA), hospitals in this state “prevented 700 patients from experiencing harm and saw 4,300 fewer readmissions.” This success resulted in a savings of $40 million. Association president Steve Ahnen credits this gain to, “Greater coordination of care among the state’s hospitals, physician practices, long-term care facilities and home care agencies.”
Illinois has instituted a state hospital licensing fee of $55 per bed that is being used to create a reporting system for adverse events and strengthen facility inspections. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, most of the money will be committed to the reporting system, while 30 percent will be dedicated to improving quality and safety. The remainder “will be used to address patient complaints.”
Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, noted that the state was moving from a punitive approach to a consultative one, so hospitals could learn from the adverse events. The increased funding will also enable the state to increase the number of hospital inspections. In 2013, due to funding limitations, only 17 percent of patient complaints were investigated.
If you would like to see how your state is doing to fight against HAIs, check out this webpage created by the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/state-based/. Use the interactive map to select any state and see how it compares to others. For instance, California has a 27 percent lower occurrence of MRSA than the national baseline, but a five percent higher occurrence of C. difficile. As another example, Texas has a 13 percent lower rate of MRSA nationally and a 19 percent lower rate of C. difficile. The CDC also covers HAI prevention projects and state success stories.
In healthcare, our common enemy is infection. And just as healthcare organizations are working together in their states to fight infection, teams within each facility must also band together. IntelliCentrics enables hospitals to engage with everyone who enters their facility to ensure that each person understands the important role they play in fighting infection and improving patient safety. This includes medical staff, general staff, volunteers, industry sales representatives and patient visitors. Each group plays a unique part, and together is the only way can we vanquish our foe.