4 drivers of reduced readmissions, complications

Florida hospitals that voluntarily participated in statewide initiatives saw lower surgical complications and readmissions, in addition to saving millions of dollars, according to a report released yesterday by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA).

The FHA started the quality effort in 2008 after the state's hospitals were slammed for poor health outcomes and high costs, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

So approximately 200 hospitals joined forces to enhance the quality and value of their care, and after five years of collaboration they achieved significant improvements and savings.

For example, the report showed readmissions dropped 15 percent over two years, as 105 hospitals prevented 1,500 patients from readmitting within 15 days and reduced costs by at least $25 million.

And over 15 months, surgical complications fell 14.5 percent for 67 hospitals involved in the nation's largest statewide surgical quality collaborative, which saved 89 lives, prevented 165 complications and saved more than $6.67 million, according to the report.

The statewide quality initiatives also led to a 41 percent decline in bloodstream infections over two years, with 35 hospitals saving 37 lives, preventing 302 blood stream infections and cutting costs by $15.9 million.

The FHA and participating hospital leaders cited 4 leading drivers of quality improvements:

Collaboration: "When hospitals share and learn from each other, we all benefit not just in knowledge but from the mutual encouragement and positive competition that result from collaboration. We could never make the progress individually that we've made together," Hugh Greene, CEO of Baptist Health-Jacksonville, a not-for-profit community organization, said in the report.

Culture: "High quality and organizational effectiveness are not mutually exclusive; they go together. We need to make this idea part of our culture," said Bob Brigham, CEO of the Mayo Clinic, also based in Jacksonville. 

Data: "Knowledge is power, so having the information and data that's available through our various collaborations gives us great power to improve patient safety and quality" said Steven D. Sonenreich, CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center, a private independent not-for-profit teaching hospital in Miami Beach. 

Partnerships: "Given the complexity of health care, it's not enough for providers to improve on their own. That's why Florida's hospitals are working together, and bringing in national resources, too," Gwen MacKenzie, CEO of the 806-bed Sarasota Memorial Health Care System.

For more:
- here's the report and statement
- read the Tampa Bay Times article