Dignity Health Saves $30 Million on Reductions in HAIs and Readmissions


Dignity Health, one of the five largest hospital systems in the nation, announces that in two years it has reduced hospital-acquired infections and readmissions, positively affecting more than 10,000 patients and potentially saving an estimated $30 million, as a result of efforts across the hospital system from January 2012 through December 2013.

In recognition of the health system’s ongoing successes, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named Dignity Health as one of its Partnership for Patients’ Hospital Engagement Networks for a third consecutive year to continue implementing changes that improve patient care. The Hospital Engagement Networks, formed by the federal Partnership for Patients initiative and made possible by the Affordable Care Act, is making significant strides towards better patient care at an affordable cost.

As one of 26 hospital organizations and associations that comprise the national Hospital Engagement Network, Dignity Health focused on providing better quality care across 10 patient safety areas that were identified through the partnership. Dignity Health is committed to every initiative across all its hospitals, including seven new measures just launched in January this year. The efforts implemented across Dignity Health hospitals reveal that the organization has reached its goal of improving patient care in six out of the 10 patient safety areas before the three year target date.

“The goals of the Partnership for Patients align with Dignity Health’s mission and longstanding commitment to making hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly,” says Barbara Pelletreau, senior vice president of patient safety for Dignity Health. “Through enhanced collaboration and coordination among our staff, we’re seeing great results, and even more importantly, we’ve improved how care is delivered at Dignity Health hospitals.”

Dignity Health is narrowing in on its overall goal of reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent before 2015. To achieve this goal, the hospital system introduced specific evidence-based practices and bedside intervention activities, called MeasureVention, to evaluate full adoption of safe preventive practices and assure coordination of care at the bedside with clinicians, including physicians.

Best practices deployed system wide ensured procedures were conducted as routinely and as safely as possible. For example, nurses and doctors only inserted catheters if absolutely necessary, changing the previously presumed notion that catheters were innocuous, which led to a large decrease in urinary tract infections. Insulin treatments were given to patients at specific times in relation to their meals lowering the overall hypoglycemic rate.

Dignity Health also enlisted the help of MeasureVentionists, nurses that have been through specialized training programs to examine current patients’ conditions, and measure their risk for infection and readmission. Through their work, MeasureVentionists were able to assess and document whether protocols were being followed ultimately, raising the bar of patient care across the system.

Below are the results for all 10 patient safety areas from Jan. 2012 through Dec. 2013:
• Hypoglycemic Rate: 65 percent reduction achieved by standardizing insulin protocols and enhancing coordination.
• Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections: 45 percent reduction implemented through a strict justification policy and significant education efforts.
• Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections: 34 percent reduction accomplished by using alcohol-impregnated disinfection caps, new insertion practices and MeasureVentionists.
• Falls: 35 percent reduction by generating fall assessment scores, providing enhanced bedside protection and instituting monthly “fall calls.”
• Early Elective Deliveries: 96 percent reduction through “hard stop” policies, and patient, staff, and physician education.
• Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcers: 50 percent reduction through enhanced wound assessments, risk assessments, and improved equipment and documentation.
• Surgical Site Infections: 35 percent reduction through SCIP practices, skin prep, antibiotic dosing, environmental controls, wound dressing, and education.
• Venous Thromboembolism & Pulmonary Embolism: 6 percent reduction achieved by standardized risk assessments, staff education, daily huddles, and documentation by MeasureVentionists.
• Ventilator Associated Pneumonia: 60 percent reduction through bed elevation, advanced sedation practices, and the launch of “improvement teams.”
• Readmissions within 30 Days: 9 percent reduction with an estimated positive impact to more than 2,000 patients.

As of January 2014, Dignity Health also started measuring results on an additional seven measures: Perinatal Hemorrhage; Peripartum Hysterectomy; PreEclampsia; ADE OPIOD; ADE Anticoagulant INR, ADE VTE5; and HYPOglycemia Insulin Mealtime, Insulin IV, Basal Bolus Order, Basal Bolus Approved Protocol.

Source: Dignity Health

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