A recent federal study says patient safety in hospitals continues to improve due to a decrease in hospital-acquired conditions The new data released by the Rockville, Maryland-based and centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in Baltimore, Maryland, show that reductions in hospital-acquired conditions (such as adverse drug events and healthcare-associated infections) helped to prevent 20,500 hospital deaths and saved $7.7 billion in health care costs from 2014 to 2017.
In AHRQ’s new report, titled “AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions Updated Baseline Rates and Preliminary Results 2014-2017” the federal agency’s preliminary analysis estimates that hospital-acquired conditions were reduced by 910,000 from 2014 to 2017. The researchers reported that the estimated rate of hospital-acquired conditions dropped 13 percent.
Hospital-Acquired Conditions Decreasing But Challenges Still Remain
AHRQ’s 27-page report quantifies trends for a number of hospital-acquired conditions, including adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line associated bloodstream infections, Clostridium difficile infections, pressure ulcers and surgical site infections. The researchers noted that harms decreased in the category of adverse drug events, which dropped 28 percent from 2014 to 2017. However, opportunities for improvement exist in other harm categories, such as pressure ulcers, the say.
“CMS is delivering on improving quality and safety of America’s hospitals, said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement announcing the release of the AHRQ report. “Our work isn’t done and we will continue our efforts to hold providers accountable for delivering results,” she says.
The continued decline in hospital-acquired conditions is a signal that patient safety initiatives led by CMS are helping to make the Nation’s health care safer, say Federal officials said, noting that AHRQ, CMS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other Federal and private partners throughout the field support ongoing improvements in health Care. AHRQ has developed a variety of patient safety tools and resources, including the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, to reduce hospital-acquired conditions. CMS has sustained and accelerated the national progress and momentum toward continued harm reduction in the Medicare program.
Bringing Best Practices to Hospitals
CMS, through the Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HINs), works to bring best practices in harm reduction to more than 4,000 of the nation’s acute care hospitals. The HIINs regularly engage with hospital, providers, and the broader caregiver community to quickly implement evidence-based practices in harm reduction to improve quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. The federal agency further supports evidence-based harm-reduction strategies through the Quality Improvement Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) and the End State Renal Disease Network Program.
CMS’s has set a goal of reducing hospital-acquired conditions by 20 percent between 2014 and 2019. If this is achieved, AHRQ says that the 20 percent reduction would result in 1.8 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions over this period, potentially resulting in 53,000 fewer deaths and saving $19.1 billion in hospital costs.
To view the AHRQ report, go to https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/professionals/quality-patient-safety/pfp/hacreport-2019.pdf