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AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions Updated Baseline Rates and Preliminary Results 2014–2017.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; January 2019.
Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) represent a significant source of preventable harm to patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services financially penalizes hospitals with increased numbers of HACs through the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. This policy of nonpayment has prompted hospitals to focus significant resources on preventing HACs. This AHRQ report found a reduction in HACs from 99 per 1000 acute care discharges to 86 per 1000 discharges between 2014 and 2017, representing a decrease in 910,000 HACs and savings of $7.7 billion. Declines in certain HACs such as adverse drug events and Clostridium difficile infections were noted to be more significant as compared to others. A past WebM&M commentary highlighted the clinical significance of HACs and described an incident involving a patient who developed a pressure ulcer while in the hospital.
Notice of Intent to Publish Funding Opportunity Announcement to Improve Care Transitions Through the Use of Interoperable Health Information Technology (R01).
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; January 28, 2019. AHRQ Publication No. NOT-HS-19-009.
The introduction of information technology has transformed health care. This notice of intent from AHRQ announces an upcoming funding opportunity to support research exploring the adoption of interoperable information technologies to improve communication during transitions. The pending funding will help to refine and develop methods to assess implementation success.
Journal Article > Study
The impact of RVU-based compensation on patient safety outcomes in outpatient otolaryngology procedures.
Stanisce L, Ahmad N, Deckard N, et al. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019;160:1003-1008.
This pre–post study found that implementation of relative value unit–based payment in a head and neck surgery practice resulted in a higher volume of procedures. The incidence of adverse outcomes, including postoperative hospitalizations, infections, unplanned return surgeries, and emergency department visits, did not change. The authors conclude that the change in payment structure did not impact surgical safety.
Journal Article > Study
Changes in hospital safety following penalties in the US Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program: retrospective cohort study.
Sankaran R, Sukul D, Nuliyalu U, et al. BMJ. 2019;366:l4109.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services impose financial penalties on hospitals whose Medicare patients experience higher rates of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) like urinary tract infections and pneumonia. Hospitals caring for more patients with low socioeconomic status receive more penalties under this program than hospitals caring for wealthier populations. Investigators attempted to assess whether hospitals penalized under the program reduced HAC rates. They found that penalized hospitals did not have lower HAC rates or improve other measures of clinical quality. This finding raises questions about whether financial penalties effectively enhance patient safety. By contrast, quality improvement collaboratives like Partnership for Patients have markedly reduced HACs. A PSNet interview with former AHRQ director Andrew Bindman explored strategies for reducing health care–acquired harm in the hospital and ambulatory settings.
Journal Article > Commentary
Wilensky GR. Milbank Q. 2019 Jul 29; [Epub ahead of print].