Healthcare Business News

Partnership for Patients initiative cites major safety gains

By Maureen McKinney
Posted: February 26, 2013 - 5:45 pm ET

Hospitals participating in HHS' Partnership for Patients campaign have made significant progress in reducing patient harm, but much work still remains to be done, according to the leaders of the $1 billion patient-safety initiative.

Hospitals have seen sizable drops in early elective deliveries, a practice that can increase complication rates for mothers and babies. They have also made progress on reducing 30-day readmission rates, CMS officials said during a webcast held by Irving, Texas-based VHA, a quality improvement and group purchasing organization.

Launched in 2011, the Partnership for Patients aims to reduce hospital-acquired conditions—including adverse drug events, central line-associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia—by 40% and preventable all-cause 30-day readmissions by 20%, all by the end of 2013.

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To date, more than 3,700 hospitals have joined the campaign, led by 26 so-called hospital engagement networks, or HENs, including Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier; 37-hospital Dignity Health, San Francisco; VHA; and the Minnesota Hospital Association.

According to Dr. Paul McGann, co-director of the Partnership for Patients and chief medical officer for campaign leadership at the CMS Innovation Center, approximately 3,400 of those hospitals are engaged in improvement efforts on more than six priority areas, up from just over 2,000 hospitals in September 2012.

“We have a live data set that brings in data every 30 days,” McGann said, during the Tuesday webcast. “We’ve seen rapid improvement in the last five months. More hospitals are addressing multiple areas of harm, and more are seeing improvement.”

Rates of early elective deliveries plummeted 48% among 681 hospitals in 20 HENs, based on data from January 2010 to June 2012, McGann said.

Gains have been seen in other areas of patient harm, such as healthcare-associated infections and falls, though improvement has been not as dramatic, said Dennis Wagner, co-director of the Partnership for Patients and the Innovation Center’s associate director for campaign leadership. “The trends on other harm areas are moving in the right direction but not fast enough,” he said, urging more hospitals to join the initiative.

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