Tuesday, 12 April 2016 04:51

Brief Spotlights Improvements in Patient Safety

Written by Mark Spivey

m spiveyWhat has been good for hospitals’ bottom lines has been good for patients as well, according to a brief recently published by National Quality Strategy via its Priorities in Focus feature.

The brief revealed a 17-percent drop in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) within the nation’s healthcare system from 2010 through 2014 – a development that resulted in an estimated 87,000 lives and $20 billion in costs being saved.

Those were the most striking figures featured in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report Chartbook on Patient Safety, on which National Quality Strategy’s brief was partially based.

“(The Chartbook) showed an overall trend of improvement in patient safety,” the brief read. “Among patient safety measures with trend data available from 2001-2002 through 2013, over 60 percent showed improvement over time.”

“However, many disparities persisted,” it continued. “For about one-third of patient safety measures, high-income households received better care than poor households, and whites received better care than blacks and Asians.”

And despite the considerable 17-percent drop in hospital-acquired conditions, the issue remains prevalent nationwide – one in seven Medicare patients are harmed during a hospital stay, and each year HACs in particular remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality.

“In an increasingly complex healthcare delivery system where patient safety depends on a range of factors, successful prevention of harm hinges on the effective identification and elimination of the potential for preventable error, avoidance of blame assignation while remaining accountable to outcomes, and transformation of the culture of medicine to ensure that patients receive high-quality care,” the brief read. “Prevention of medical errors saves lives and lowers cost – goals shared by all stakeholders across the system and a key to achieving the three aims of the National Quality Strategy.”

Those aims include the reduction of preventable hospital admissions and readmissions, the incidence of adverse healthcare-associated conditions, and harm from inappropriate or unnecessary care.

“The Affordable Care Act focused national efforts on improving these long-term goals to make care safer for all Americans,” the brief read.

 To read the brief in its entirety, go online to http://www.ahrq.gov/workingforquality/reports/nqs-priority-focus-patient-safety.pdf.

About the Author

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for VBPmonitor. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Last modified on Thursday, 14 April 2016 10:11