Declines in Hospital-Acquired Conditions Save 8,000 Lives and $2.9 Billion in Costs

Issue Issue 617
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
June 5, 2018

AHRQ Stats: Declining Hospitalizations Among Emergency Department Patients

Hospital admissions declined between 2006 and 2015 among people seeking care at emergency departments. The biggest decline—27 percent—was among patients under age 18. (Source: AHRQ, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #238, Trends in Hospital Emergency Department Visits by Age and Payer, 2006–2015.)  

Today's Headlines:

Declines in Hospital-Acquired Conditions Save 8,000 Lives and $2.9 Billion in Costs

National efforts to reduce hospital-acquired conditions such as adverse drug events and injuries from falls helped prevent 8,000 deaths and save $2.9 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to a report released today by AHRQ. The AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions estimates that 350,000 hospital-acquired conditions were avoided and the rate was reduced by 8 percent from 2014 to 2016. Data on these conditions are calculated and analyzed by AHRQ to help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services track efforts to reduce patient harm by 20 percent from 2014 to 2019. Continuing reductions in hospital-acquired conditions are a signal that ongoing initiatives by AHRQ and other federal agencies are helping to make care safer. Access the press release and an infographic.

AHRQ Study Finds Few Adults Receive All Recommended Preventive Services

A new AHRQ study published in the June edition of Health Affairs found that in 2015, only 8 percent of adults 35 and older received all highly recommended preventive services, and about 5 percent of adults reported they received none of them. These results are based on a new AHRQ Medical Expenditure Panel Survey questionnaire and first-of-its-kind measure that gauges the use of a broad spectrum of high-priority preventive services, including screening, counseling, preventive medications and vaccinations. The analysis did find some better news: more than 20 percent of adults reported receiving more than 75 percent of the recommended services, a finding that shows improvement is possible, the authors concluded. Access the study abstract.

Safety Program Reduces Surgical Site Infections in Hawaii Hospitals

Surgical site infections fell more than 61 percent and patient safety culture improved following implementation of AHRQ’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), a newly published study has found. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, analyzed data from hospitals in Hawaii performing colorectal surgeries from 2013 to mid-2015. It found that participation in AHRQ’s Safety Program for Surgery, which featured CUSP, was associated with a 61.7 percent decrease in surgical site infections, from 12 percent to 4.6 percent. Meanwhile, patient safety culture, as measured by AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture, improved in 10 of 12 categories. CUSP is a safety program that combines clinical best practices with an understanding of the science of safety, improved safety culture and an increased focus on teamwork. Access the study abstract. Also, access a toolkit developed in the AHRQ national project. Additionally, information is available about a current AHRQ national project focused on care of surgical patients, the AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Surgical Care and Recovery

Highlights From AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network

AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network (PSNet) highlights journal articles, books and tools related to patient safety. Articles featured this week include:

Review additional new publications in PSNet’s current issue or access recent cases and commentaries in AHRQ’s WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web).

VA Program Aimed at Physician Burnout Saves Time by Reducing Electronic Health Record Notifications

A Veterans Administration (VA) program designed to ease physician burnout significantly reduced the number of lower priority alerts delivered to primary care physicians via electronic health record (EHR) notifications, an AHRQ-funded study found. EHR alerts range from high priority alerts, such as abnormal imaging results, to lower priority ones, such as multiple messages from the same lab panel. To minimize low-value notifications that caused physicians to miss critical notifications and contributed to burnout, the VA restricted mandatory notifications to those deemed high priority and trained physicians to customize their inboxes. Results at 148 VA sites showed daily notifications decreased on average from 15 to 10. In addition, 97 percent of physicians received new training on customizing and processing alerts, which allowed for an additional decrease. In all, notifications decreased by an average of 10 percent, which represented a potential 1.5 work hours saved per week. Access the abstract for the study, published in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Apply Now for Funding of Projects Using Clinical Decision Support Systems

A new funding opportunity announcement solicits proposals for projects that would broadly disseminate patient-centered outcomes research findings into clinical practice through clinical decision support (CDS) systems. This initiative aims to build shareable, interoperable CDS resources such as those available from AHRQ’s CDS Connect program. CDS resources developed through these awards will be publicly available for use and evaluation on CDS Connect. Access the funding announcement for information about applications requirements and deadlines.

Featured Case Study: Connecticut Hospital Uses AHRQ Tool To Reduce Pressure Injuries

AHRQ’s Preventing Pressure Ulcers in Hospitals: A Toolkit for Improving Quality of Care helps providers reduce pressure injuries. These painful skin sores are more likely to develop when patients are confined to bed. At Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, a 617-bed hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, the AHRQ toolkit was central to the hospital’s effort to prevent an estimated 114 pressure ulcers and avoid nearly $2 million in excess hospital costs. Access the impact case study.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

A community resource map to support clinical-community linkages in a randomized controlled trial of childhood obesity, eastern Massachusetts, 2014-2016. Fiechtner L, Puente GC, Sharifi M, et al. Prev Chronic Dis 2017 Jul 6;14:E53. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Quality improvement, implementation, and dissemination strategies to improve mental health care for children and adolescents: a systematic review. Forman-Hoffman VL, Middleton JC, McKeeman JL, et al. Implement Sci 2017 Jul 24;12(1):93. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Validity and responsiveness of the knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score: a comparative study among total knee replacement patients. Gandek B, Ware JE, Jr. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2017 Jun;69(6):817-25. Epub 2017 May 8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Financial benefit of a smoking cessation program prior to elective colorectal surgery. Gaskill CE, Kling CE, Varghese TK, Jr., et al. J Surg Res 2017 Jul;215:183-9. Epub 2017 Apr 7. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Central nervous system medication burden and serious falls in older nursing home residents. Hanlon JT, Zhao X, Naples JG, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 2017 Jun;65(6):1183-9. Epub 2017 Feb 2. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Variation in outcomes at bariatric surgery centers of excellence. Ibrahim AM, Ghaferi AA, Thumma JR, et al. JAMA Surg 2017 Jul 1;152(7):629-36. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Association between off-peak hour birth and neonatal morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight infants. Jensen EA, Lorch SA. J Pediatr 2017 Jul;186:41-8.e4. Epub 2017 Mar 8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Recent literature update on medication risk in older adults, 2015-2016. Koronkowski MJ, Semla TP, Schmader KE, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 2017 Jul;65(7):1401-5. Epub 2017 Mar 28. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed June 2018
Page originally created June 2018
Internet Citation: Declines in Hospital-Acquired Conditions Save 8,000 Lives and $2.9 Billion in Costs. Content last reviewed June 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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