QUEST hospitals report big numbers

By Bernie Monegain
07:57 AM
Save more than 100,000 lives, reduce billions in costs
QUEST hospitals report big numbers

Hospitals in Premier’s QUEST collaborative collectively avoided 136,375 deaths and saved about $11.65 billion over the past five and a half years using the alliance's methodology and integrated analytics.

Premier released the results in a call with media on Thursday.

[See also: Premier makes big connect with big data.]

While national hospital costs have increased by 37 percent since 2008, costs for QUEST hospitals have only risen 14 percent and remained flat for the past year. This averages to an annual 2.3 percent year-over-year cost increase that is only 0.4 percent above the rate of inflation, suggesting that QUEST members are bending the cost curve in healthcare comparable to the rest of the economy, Premier executives note.

If all 5,700+ acute-care hospitals nationwide were able to achieve QUEST standards of performance, $21 billion could have been saved last year, they add.

In addition to lowering costs, QUEST members have made substantial gains in quality, including reducing their mortality rates 14 percentage points lower than a matched sample of hospitals not in QUEST. Of the deaths avoided, the largest improvements were made in sepsis, where 21 percent of all deaths prevented, according to Premier numbers and reductions of 6 percent each in stroke, heart failure and respiratory infections.

QUEST is a national quality improvement collaborative composed of 350 hospitals representing almost every state in the country, including all hospitals in Hawaii. Members are large and small, teaching and non-teaching, urban and rural, and high and low disproportionate share hospitals.

[See also: Premier rakes in $760M from IPO.]

"Too often, the healthcare debate centers around the policies needed to incent change," said Susan DeVore, Premier president and CEO, in announcing the QUEST hospital numbers. "But we have learned that change can be driven from the inside, using data to pinpoint opportunity areas, friendly competition to ‘race to the top,’ and a collaborative model for sharing best practices.

"QUEST members are setting new standards in healthcare quality, efficiency and safety," she added. "Their results show these efforts to improve do not require additional cost – they actually reduce costs and save lives. It is our hope that hospitals across the country will benchmark against and seek to beat the QUEST performance levels."

QUEST members rely on Premier's methodology to transparently share and compare their data, performance and experiences with one another. All measures used by the collaborative are publicly available and can be leveraged by any hospital to set quality improvement goals based on aggressive standards of top performance.

This collaborative approach to performance improvement has led to the identification and rapid adoption of best practices to reduce mortality and costs, and improve safety, patient experience, quality and the delivery of evidence-based care. According to Premier, these interventions were also successful in:

  • Preventing 40,808 readmissions since 2011;
  • Preventing 17,991 instances of harm, such as hospital-acquired infections, since 2010; and
  • Providing approximately 109,851 additional patients with all appropriate, evidence-based care for all the clinical conditions assessed since 2008.