Progress toward Patient Safety

Here’s a piece of positive healthcare news: Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that American hospitals are becoming significantly safer and cleaner.

According to data, the incidence of hospital-acquired ailments inside fell 17 percent between 2010 and 2013. (The report considers hospital-acquired aliments to include infections, falls and adverse reactions to drugs.) The data equates to 121 hospital-acquired ailments for every 1,000 patients discharged in 2013, down from 145 in 2010.

Overall, the administration estimated that this decline may have resulted in as many as 50,000 fewer hospital deaths over the three-year period.

You can read the full report or this summary in Modern Healthcare.

While the Department of Health and Human Services is unsure of the exact cause of the reduction, it points to new hospital reporting requirements, as well as new ties between Medicare reimbursement and preventable patient complications.

Unfortunately, the data collected between 2010 and 2013 cannot be compared to hospital data collected during previous administrations. However, a 17 percent drop in hospital-acquired ailments over three years is no small feat!

I think this reflects wonderfully on American healthcare providers. It demonstrates both a legitimate concern for patient safety, as well as an interest in adhering to new national regulations and standards.

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