A national quality improvement initiative, first created under the Affordable Care Act to improve the value of U.S. healthcare, is being credited as the reason New Jersey hospitals and health systems were able to save $641 million in healthcare costs and prevent 77,000 cases of patient harm between 2012 and 2016.
The New Jersey Hospital Association, (NJHA) has released a progress report that chronicles the progress its hospitals have made over five years under the Partnership for Patients-New Jersey program, part of a national initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS selected the association and its affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, to lead the effort in the Garden State.
The progress report documents improvements in care that resulted in the healthcare cost savings. Overall, progress was made in 13 categories. Among the biggest accomplishments: double-digit improvements in occurrence in rates for postsurgical infections, patient falls, adverse drug events and hospital readmissions.
“We spend a lot of time collecting and analyzing data in this initiative, but the bottom line is this: Patients in a New Jersey hospital today are much less likely to experience an adverse event like an infection after surgery, or a pressure ulcer, or an adverse reaction to medication,” said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan in a released statement. “Good healthcare requires teamwork, and in this initiative we have hospitals and post-acute providers; physicians, nurses and other clinical professionals; and patients and their caregivers all working together as part of the team.”
The top three areas with the greatest declines in incident rates are:
Adverse drug events (55% decline)
Venous thromboembolism or blood clot (50% decline)
Early elective deliveries before week 39 of a pregnancy (49%)
New Jersey Hospitals achieved the greatest healthcare costs savings in three areas:
$581.6 million in savings by reducing the rate of hospital readmissions by 30%
$34.5 million in savings by reducing the rate of pressure ulcers by 38%
$9.4 million in savings through the decline in adverse drug events.
To achieve these results, healthcare professionals participated in a series of education programs with industry experts. Other keys to improvement include standard use of industry best practices, adopting the use of tools like checklists and algorithms, monthly data collection and routine sharing their experiences.