Hospital-acquired conditions have declined 21 percent in 5 years, AHRQ says
Technology-enabled patient safety efforts have helped save 125,000 lives and almost $28 billion.
A new report compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that a steep drop in hospital-acquired conditions has accompanied a decrease of 3 million adverse events in the past five years.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says a sustained focus on patient safety, enabled in large part by the Affordable Care Act, has saved as many as 125,000 lives and more than $28 billion – the result of continuing decrease in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 through 2015.
That 21 percent drop is thanks in part to care coordination and patient safety efforts enabled by health information technology.
"The Affordable Care Act gave us tools to build a better health care system that protects patients, improves quality, and makes the most of our health care dollars and those tools are generating results," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.
Hospital-acquired conditions include adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line associated bloodstream infections, pressure ulcers and surgical site infections and others. While these conditions occur frequently, they're largely preventable.
Much of the evidence on how to prevent hospital-acquired conditions was developed and tested by AHRQ, such as its Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program – a proven method that combines improvement in safety culture, teamwork and communications with evidence-based practices to prevent harm and enable safer care.
"AHRQ has been building a foundation of patient safety research for the last decade and a half at the request of Congress," said AHRQ director Andy Bindman, MD, in a statement. "Now we’re seeing these investments continue to pay off in terms of lives saved, harm avoided, and safer care delivery overall. We’re gratified by the progress, and we look forward to building on this work to help make patient care even safer as the work continues."