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Hospitals caused 50,000 fewer deaths over last three years

iStock | monkeybusinessimages

iStock | monkeybusinessimages

A new report shows that hospitals became significantly safer from 2010 to 2013, with hospitals causing 50,000 fewer deaths over the period. The number of cases of hospital-caused harm to patients decreased 17 percent over those three years.

These findings come from a new report issued by the U.S. government. Though the causes for this improvement are not fully understood, the report states it occurred over a period when improved patient care was being spurred by Medicare incentives and the Partnership for Patients initiative. The latter program is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is led by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Over the three-year period, the number of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) fell from 145 per 1,000 discharges to 121 per 1,000. This includes a 9 percent decline from 2012 to 2013 alone. The study also estimates $12 billion was saved in healthcare costs over the period.

“For the past three years, instead of working in silos, we’ve partnered with hospitals that represent 80 percent of the American population,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell at a Baltimore press conference, according to U.S. News & World Report. “As a result, we’ve been able to achieve dramatic improvements in patient safety.”

The report shows the overall improvement was spurred by a number of individual factors, including a 20 percent reduction in pressure ulcers. This improvement alone saved nearly $4.8 billion in healthcare costs.

Nurses, have you seen your own workplace become safer for patients during this time period? In what ways? If not, what do you think can be done to improve patient safety in your workplace?

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