A few weeks back we talked about how hand-hygiene can significantly decrease hospital-contracted infections, and by extension reduce healthcare organization costs — not to mention reduce unnecessary infection-related deaths. A new study out shows that hand washing frequency drops off near the end of healthcare professional worker’s shifts.
Led by Hengchen Dai, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers analyzed three years of hand-washing data from more than 4,000 caregivers in 35 hospitals across the U.S. They discovered that hand-washing compliance rates plummeted an average of 8.7% by the end of a normal 12-hour shift.
Hospital-contracted infections account for nearly 100,000 deaths per year in the United States, making it a serious problem in need of attention. From December 2006 through December 2008, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) initiated the 5 Million Lives Campaign with the aim of supporting the improving medical care, and significantly reducing levels of morbidity (illness or medical harm such as adverse drug events or surgical complications) and mortality.
Hospitals participating in the Campaign were asked to prevent 5 million incidents of medical harm over the two-year period. The IHI continues its efforts to reduce incidents of medical harm in the article What Zero Looks Like: Eliminating Hospital Acquired Infections.
There is no doubt that hospital-acquired infections are a serious issue. There are also large amounts of evidence that shows a few simple methods can significantly reduce their number.
The road to lower mortality rates, and reduced hospital costs, begins with establishing a commitment to a culture of quality. Then providing staff with the tools they need to easily record, measure and report their performance.
Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University and Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Center for Health Research argue in an article published in the November/December issue of Annals of Family Medicine that Health Information Technology, in particular health records and health information exchange, can be a conduit for keeping patients insured — which can lead to higher percentages of scheduled visits.
“There is a significant business case for implementing health IT systems to help keep patients insured,” the authors say. “Patients who lose coverage are often unable to schedule visits, so they seek care outside of visits … in ways that are not commonly reimbursed.”
One way to help keep patients insured is by sending them a simple reminder of their policy renewal dates.
“A good starting place is the data already being collected and/or automatically imported,” the researchers say. “[Patient-centered medical homes] could work with their healthcare systems and/or EHR vendors to create or enhance electronic interfaces with insurance plans, populating EHR fields with more detailed information about patients’ health insurance coverage status.”
The full article can be found here.
Calling it “much broader” than the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT’s interoperability roadmap, the eHealth plan calls for an extension of time between Stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use program, and also says that compliance with ICD-10 by next October is mandatory.
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico say that tracking Wikipedia page views can forecast the spread of influenza and dengue fever.
The researchers claim their algorithm allows them to overcome the challenges that hamper the reliability of other similar data surveillance methods based on Internet information.
Google Flu Trends, is a web service operated by Google, which provides estimates of influenza activity by aggregating Google search queries. But, early last year it was reported that they drastically overestimated peak flu levels, casting some doubt on the search giant’s ability to predict flu trends.
“Using simple statistical techniques, our proof-of-concept experiments suggest that these data are effective for predicting the present, as well as forecasting up to the 28-day limit of our tests,” the Los Alamos researchers say. “Our results also suggest that these models can be used even in places with no official data upon which to build models.
Though there are still detractors to the notion of using such systems to predict disease outbreaks, it is no doubt amazing to witness the many uses to which the growing volumes of meta data available on the internet will be used.
Read the full report here.
A survey of nearly 80 healthcare executives from Huron Healthcare revealed that executives feel “…improving clinical operations and care delivery offers the biggest opportunity for cost reductions,”
“These survey findings are consistent with what we are seeing and hearing from clients across the country,” said Gordon Mountford, executive vice president of Huron Healthcare.
Tempering their optimism about value-based care however, are the concerns they have about implementing it. Nearly 55% of those polled said their organization’s primary challenge in the transition to value-based care will be adapting their cost structures to generate revenue and control costs.
You can read more details, and download the full report here