American Hospital Association
Health Research & Educational Trust

Indiana hospitals seek to lower sepsis mortality rate

Most people know the early signs of heart attacks and strokes, but they aren’t as familiar with sepsis, a medical condition that kills more than 258,000 people in the U.S. each year.

The medical condition occurs when the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream in an effort to fight off infection, but the process spurs an inflammatory response that can lead to potentially deadly complications, such as organ failure and tissue damage.

About 15.2 percent of people admitted to hospitals in Indiana with sepsis died from the condition in 2008. The rate dropped to about 6.1 percent in 2015.

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Patient Transition: Enhancing care transitions and avoiding costly readmissions

By Sherree Geyer

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Princeton, New Jersey) estimates that inadequate care coordination-including transitions-cost hospitals between $25 and $45 billion in wasteful spending through avoidable complications and unnecessary readmissions.

Likewise, the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) of the Affordable Care Act asserts that readmissions occur among one in five Medicare patients-including 2.6 million seniors-within 30 days of hospital discharge at an annual cost of $26 billion. CCTP states that "care transitions occur when a patient moves from one healthcare provider or setting to another."

"The complexity of the patient's medical condition, socioeconomic circumstance and hospital processes-such as hand offs, medication reconciliation and patient education-contribute to complications in care transitions," explains Chaisse Coulombe, vice president of clinical quality at the American Hospital Association's Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) in Chicago. By way of example, she says:

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Ending the Opioid Epidemic: New Patient Education Tool and Other Resources for Hospitals

Every day, hospitals see the devastating effects of the U.S. opioid epidemic. While prescription opioids can be a safe and necessary part of pain management, these drugs also carry serious risks of harm because of the potential for addiction, misuse, overdose and death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics indicate that more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2014. More than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments each day for misusing prescription opioids, according to government sources.

Across the country, hospitals are working to reduce the epidemic, employing a multitude of strategies to fight this multifaceted and serious public health problem. To assist these efforts, the AHA and CDC have created a new patient education resource about prescription opioids.

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2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and 5th Anniversary Update

Each year since 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has produced the National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report. These reports to Congress are mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). Beginning with the 2014 reports, findings on health care quality and health care disparities are integrated into a single document. For the first time, this year’s National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and National Quality Strategy Update is a joint effort addressing the progress made against the National Quality Strategy (NQS) priorities at the 5-year anniversary of the Strategy. The NQS is backed by the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report data. Integration of these two efforts within AHRQ supports the development of this more comprehensive report on the success of efforts to achieve better health and health care and reduce disparities.

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Eliminating Harm Checklists l Reduce All-Cause, Preventable Harm

The AHA/HRET HEN 2.0 team has worked with Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence (HPOE) to produce a new resource as you approach harm reduction in your facility. The new compilation "Eliminating Harm Checklists" gathers evidence-based best practices, improvement strategies and action items along with checklists and resources that may be effective within your organization.

Read full checklist here.

Reducing Preventable Harm in Hospitals

Through a robust collaboration between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, many state hospital associations and numerous individual hospitals, there has been a notable reduction in hospital preventable harm. Since the inception of the collaboration in 2011, patients have experienced 2.1 million fewer incidents of harm. In short, this translates to an estimated 87,000 deaths prevented and $20 billion saved in health care costs between 2011 and 2014. Read more about the national efforts to improve patient safety and the Partnership for Patients initiative in the article featured below.

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Medical Errors May Cause Over 250,000 Deaths a Year

If medical error were considered a disease, a new study has found, it would be the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.

Medical error is not reported as a cause of death on death certificates, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has no “medical error” category in its annual report on deaths and mortality. But in this study, researchers defined medical error as any health care intervention that causes a preventable death.

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