Monday, March 15, 2010

Five Preventable Conditions That Can Save Your Hospital $200 Million Annually

A recent study by the Healthcare Management Council, Inc. shows the top five hospital acquired conditions that combined cost a typical 200 bed hospital almost $2 million per year. The study was conducted on hundreds of facilities ranging in size from 75 to 800 beds. Costs were determined by measuring the extra care that these hospital acquired conditions (HACs) required.

On a larger scale, CDC has determined that healthcare associated infections occur in 1.7 million patients annually and result in 99,000 deaths each year. Further, they estimate that the cost of these infections to hospitals is as much as $45 billion each year nationwide. But the HMC study has shown that just a handful of of HACs can run up significant costs to hospitals. This gives us a very manageable list to deal with that can have a major impact on operations; not just relating to costs but quality to our patients as well. Below is the list in the order of their prevalence. For each condition, the total average cost to a hospital as well as the cost per patient is listed.

Decubitis ulcers-$536,900 annually; $9,200 per patient

Postop pulmonary embolism and DVT-$564,000 annually; $15,500 per patient

Accidental puncture and laceration-$248,100 annually; $8,300 per patient

Postop respiratory failure-$261,000 annually; $21,900 per patient

Infections due to medical care-$252,600 annually; $24,500 per patient

The good news is that all of these conditions are preventable. The bad news is that it will take a supreme effort to completely eliminate all of them. But if you start with a root cause analysis and then put in place best practices in these areas you can make a real impact. The acceptable goal must be zero even if it takes you some time to get there. The key is changing the current culture that unknowingly reinforces these conditions to occur.

I have had experience working with hospitals that take this type of effort seriously starting from the top of the organization and involving all levels of staff. Amazing changes can occur with the side benefit of improving staff morale. If you are not seriously addressing all of these areas already, it would be a good time to start.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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