Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) and infections are illnesses or complications that were not present when the patient was admitted to the hospital, but developed as a result of errors or accidents in the hospital.(1) In an effort to improve patient safety and quality within hospitals, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the HAC Reduction Program in 2015. Since the program was introduced, studies show that hospitals have made considerable progress in reducing HACs.(2) However, there is plenty of room for improvements with some common and troublesome HACs.
Room to Improve
There are a few HACs that hospitals continue to struggle with. One of the most common HACs is pressure ulcers, aka bed sores. Pressure Ulcers are the only area that showed an increase in events since 2015. Other HACs that fall in the national ‘least improved’ category include patient falls, adverse OB events, and infections such as CAUTI, CLABSI, and those related to the surgical site. So what makes these HACs more challenging than others? And how do leading organizations overcome the obstacles for making improvements? It is easy when you follow the right path.
As a result of the HAC Reduction Program and improvements in technology, hospitals have begun implementing programs that improve quality and support caregivers with streamlined processes. The changes being made are having a significant impact on many HACs. According to AHRQ, the rate of HACs between 2014 and 2017 dropped by 13%. This resulted in $7.7 billion in savings for providers, and prevented a whopping 20,500 hospital deaths!(3) The healthcare industry should continue to see reductions like this in HACs as more hospitals continue to tweak and automate processes that are manual or outdated.
Most organizations looking to reduce HACs will use system-wide data for developing processes around HAC reduction programs. However, making a significant impact requires a more focused, process-driven approach. Because each hospital has its own set of unique challenges, the problem HACs will likely vary between locations. Large healthcare organizations should start by identifying the top one or two HAC challenges per location and focus their corrective measures, key indicators, and sharing the results with teams. Using this approach, organizations can then create programs that make sense for system-level processes and metrics, as well as address the individual hospital concerns.
Old Problems, New Solutions
The healthcare industry’s first big introduction to technology was working with EHR systems. Many caregivers were less than enthusiastic about the impact EHR systems would have on patient care. There is little doubt that the love/hate relationship with EHRs stalled further non-clinical and business-focused technology adoption, but times are changing. Technology has come a long way, and there are mobile, intuitive solutions that are changing the game. Organizations now have the ability to create focused HAC programs that are quickly adopted because the right technology makes their lives easier. This new technology is what elevates an ordinary HAC Reduction program by supporting best practices with evidence-based data. How great is that?!
How Clarifire Can Help
CLARIFIRE HEALTH® is cutting-edge technology that integrates with hospital EHRs to provide affordable, configurable, and easy-to-use processes. Our Founder and CEO, Jane Mason, said, “There is no one-size fits all with healthcare organizations, and the same should be true for the technology they use.” Instead, our team works with hospital executives to design interconnected multidisciplinary workflows with the caregivers that use them. The proven, streamlined processes are built around already established metrics and best practices for each organization. CLARIFIRE HEALTH provides easy access and visibility to real-time data that was previously unheard of. CLARIFIRE HEALTH is truly BRIGHTER AUTOMATION.
If you liked this blog, read these next!
- Healthcare-Associated Infections Reduced by 70 Percent
- Control Preventable Infections Before They Start
- A Data Driven Approach to Patient Safety
- How to Improve Safety Performance Using a HRO Model
Tammy Bourassa leads the business account management team at Clarifire. She came to Clarifire with over 15 years of experience in selling and supporting client software solutions within the healthcare industry. Her industry knowledge ranges from pre hospital/EMS care to inpatient and rehabilitation care. Tammy has successfully led various sales, account management and operational teams. When asked, she said she really enjoys growing business by building relationships. "It's so much fun to work with all the flavors of people and to help solve their issues."