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HAIs: Hospitals Struggle to Make Consistent Progress

December 20, 2016 BY Definitive Healthcare

HAIs: Hospitals Struggle to Make Consistent Progress

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report highlighting recent improvements in hospital care quality, specifically lower rates of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs). According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HACs declined by 21 percent from 2010 to 2015, representing an estimated 125,000 patient deaths averted and $28 billion in savings. While HACs include many different ailments, hospitals usually focus their prevention efforts on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) because they can prove deadly and form the bulk of a hospital’s HAC score, which CMS uses to calculate reimbursement penalties under its HAC Reduction Program. Based on nearly three years of data from CMS and Definitive Healthcare, a review shows that despite some improvements, hospitals still have difficulty reducing infections and their progress appears slow.

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The Indian Health Service (IHS) has been the focus of a lot of negative attention in 2016. A US Senate committee hearing in February highlighted serious failures in care delivery, management and oversight, and funding at the system’s 55 hospitals. Anecdotal reports have described events in which patients were discharged prematurely or misdiagnosed and in some cases led to death. An analysis of Definitive Healthcare data suggests that there are significant quality variations between IHS hospitals, with some performing better or worse than similar facilities elsewhere in the state, but they face several unique challenges that make comparisons to normal hospitals more complicated.

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As hospitals have embraced value-based healthcare over the past several years, many observers have noticed that quality outcomes depend not only on medical treatment, but also on positive socioeconomic factors. A patient with stable housing and employment as well as access to healthy food is more likely to be in better overall health and comply with treatment guidelines and is less likely to develop certain chronic conditions. Many health providers have taken steps to improve patients’ lives outside the clinical setting, but whether they represent an effective strategy for all hospitals remains to be seen. Certain key areas affecting a patient’s health, such as employment, lie almost entirely beyond a hospital’s control or influence.

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New Data Highlight: Updated Hospital Quality Metrics

November 15, 2016 BY Definitive Healthcare

New Data Highlight: Updated Hospital Quality Metrics

CMS releases updated quality data on a quarterly basis.  The latest update was released in October, and included updates to:

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Meeting a client’s needs and expectations is critical for any business, including healthcare. Yet, in an era of reform, it’s not enough to merely satisfy patients; providers must offer better clinical outcomes. To further that goal, CMS launched its healthcare comparison programs to rate hospitals, physicians, and other key players in the healthcare arena. Observers have noticed, though, that patient satisfaction and outcomes do not always correlate and even conflict in some cases. Based on Definitive Healthcare data and the latest updates to CMS’ Home Health Agency (HHA) Compare program, it’s clear that patient satisfaction has little basis on quality of care, at least by CMS standards.

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