The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a report to the effect that no fewer than 1.3 million lives have been saved from certain death that could have arisen from hospital-acquired conditions, thereby saving $12 billion in hospital costs. Hospital-acquired conditions are health conditions that arise from visits to hospitals, or prolonged treatments at hospitals during hospitalization; and some of these are drug reactions, falls, pressure ulcers, and surgical site infections among others.
According to Sylvia M. Burwell, the secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, “Today’s results are welcome news for patients and their families. These data represent significant progress in improving the quality of care that patients receive while spending our health care dollars more wisely. HHS will work with partners across the country to continue to build on this progress.”
50,000 fewer patient deaths were recorded in hospitals between 2010-2013, and this represents about a 17% decline in hospital-acquired conditions within this given period. Most noticeable was 2012-2013 when about 35,000 patients deaths were prevented as a result of any HAC, and a further 800,000 injury incidents also prevented within this time, enabling the authorities to make a savings of about $8 billion.
“Never before have we been able to bring so many hospitals, clinicians, and experts together to share in a common goal – improving patient care. We have built an ‘infrastructure of improvement’ that will aid hospitals and the health care field for years to come and has spurred the results you see today. We applaud HHS for having the vision to support these efforts and look forward to our continued partnership to keep patients safe and healthy,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association.
The AHRQ Director, Richard Kronick, Ph.D added that “AHRQ has developed the evidence base and many of the tools that hospitals have used to achieve this dramatic decline in patient harms. Additionally, AHRQ’s work in measuring adverse events, performed as part of the Partnership for Patients, made it possible to track the rate of change in these harms nationwide and chart the progress being made.”
Apart from the fact that the Partnership for Patients program has helped a great deal at reducing avoidable hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 till date, a safer healthcare system among hospitals throughout the nation has also helped to minimize the incidence of any adverse health complications that result from hospitalizations.