Health IT Touted for Reducing Hospital-Acquired Conditions

December 3, 2014 in News

Focused efforts to reduce hospital-acquired harm through the implementation of health IT, as well as policy and reimbursement reforms, resulted in 50,000 fewer deaths and $12 billion in savings from 2010 to 2013, according to a report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on Tuesday, EHR Intelligence reports (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 12/2).

The report is based on an analysis of tens of thousands of medical records (Begley, Reuters, 12/2). It updates findings HHS released earlier this year (Norman, Politico Pro, 12/2).

Report Findings

Overall, the report found that hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions — such as surgical infections, drug reactions and other preventable events — during the three-year period from 2010 to 2013. As a result, there were 17% fewer HACs in 2013 than in 2010 (Rice, Modern Healthcare, 12/2).

The report highlighted major improvements from 2012 to 2013, when the HAC rate decreased by 9% (Reuters, 12/2). In 2013 alone, preliminary data suggest that there were about 800,000 fewer HACs in hospitals compared with the 2010 baseline, saving about $8 billion and preventing nearly 35,000 deaths (HHS release, 12/2).

Officials attributed some of the reductions to Affordable Care Act provisions, such as penalties for HACs that were implemented this year and HHS’ Partnership for Patients initiative (Politico Pro, 12/2).

In addition, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a speech at the CMS Quality Conference touted the Obama administration’s efforts to “bolster clinical decision-making” by increasing cost and quality data transparency and expanding the use of electronic health information (Ferris, The Hill, 12/2).

According to EHR Intelligence, health IT tools such as clinical decision support, electronic health records and predictive analytics have improved patient safety at hospitals (EHR Intelligence, 12/3).

However, the report said there is more work to be done, noting that the HAC “rate is still too high” (Modern Healthcare, 12/2).

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