A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that hospital-acquired conditions (HAC) dropped between 2014 and 2016, preventing an estimated 8,000 deaths and saving $2.9 billion.
The AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions estimated that 350,000 HACs, including adverse drug events and injuries from falls, were avoided and the rate was reduced by 8% from 2014 to 2016.
CMS has set a goal of reducing HACs by 20% from 2014 through 2019. Using Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIIN), CMS has worked to spread best practices in harm reduction in more than 4,000 hospitals. Once the 20% reduction goal is met, AHRQ projects that during 2015 through 2019, there would be 1.8 million fewer patients with HACs, which would result in 53,000 fewer deaths and $19.1 billion in hospital cost savings.
AHRQ’s new estimates are based on an expanded population set of hospital patients and were calculated despite recent changes in medical coding. Data in the new scorecard showed that overall harms decreased in several categories, such as infections and adverse drug events, which dropped 15% from 2014 to 2016. On the other hand, pressure ulcers increased during that time.
The new numbers echo earlier advances. HACs overall dropped 17% from 2010 to 2014, saving nearly $20 billion in healthcare costs and preventing 87,000 deaths. Preliminary data for 2017 are expected within the next year.