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12421The converse side of saving money from the implementation of performance improvement, incident reporting systems, and a culture of quality, is losing a whole lot more due to bad outcomes, poor incident management and patient readmissions.

According to a report out by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), between January and November 2011 hospitals spent $41.3 billion treating patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Of that number, nearly 1.8 million readmissions cost the Medicare program $24 billion, 600,000 privately insured patient readmissions totaled $8.1 billion, 700,000 Medicaid patient readmissions cost hospitals $7.6 billion and uninsured patients were readmitted at a  cost of $1.5 billion.

 

Highlighting the need for the healthcare industry adopt new means of tracking adverse incidents, the AHRQ said in the study, “[I]dentifying conditions that contribute the most to the total number of readmissions and related costs for all payers may aid healthcare stakeholders in deciding which conditions to target to maximize quality improvement and cost-reduction efforts,”.

It is this simple task of tracking adverse events which most hospitals have no efficient means of recording and acting on. Recent statistics report that nearly 75% of all hospitals in the United States are utilizing antiquated systems, relying on paper or spreadsheets, for their Risk and Quality Management. However, healthcare is coming around to performance improvement technologies pioneered and perfected in other industries — such as manufacturing — which provide real-time, accurate insight into a hospital’s quality program.

At first it takes some time to understand why an IT approach, to what has traditionally just been a passive reporting method of quality improvement, is preferable. But, it is the real-time insight that a thoughtful algorithm, within an Incident Management Software like ActionCue Clinical Intelligence, can provide which is so invaluable.

In today’s day-and-age, it is no longer necessary for patient safety and hospital management data to be delayed by days, weeks or months. Inexpensive, web-based systems, like ActionCue, deliver immediate information to staff at all levels of a hospital’s organization, allowing for a prompt and precise response to patient safety and healthcare quality issues — improving patient care and reducing hospital costs.

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