AHA harm reduction program saves nearly $300M in second round

Efforts to reduce avoidable harms are a top priority for hospitals, and a joint hospital effort has prevented tens of thousands of such incidents nationwide.

In its second round, the American Hospital Association/Health Research & Educational Trust’s Hospital Engagement Network 2.0 (AHA/HRET HEN) prevented 34,000 harms across 11 areas, according to (.pdf) the latest results. This included a 44 percent drop in early elective deliveries, a 21 percent reduction in surgical site infections and 34 percent fewer post-operative venuous thromboembolism incidents.

These improvements are projected to generate $288 million in savings: $124 million in averted readmissions, $78 million in preventing adverse drug events and $19 million in preventing pressure ulcers. The program’s broader goals are to cut harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent across 34 participating states and territories.

The program’s first round also had promising results, cutting heart failure rates by13 percent and ventilator-associated pneumonia by 34 percent.

The program used five central strategies to help more than 1,900 hospitals cut harm rates, including:

  • Distributing best practices and evidence
  • Providing technical assistance and advice
  • Encouraging and helping to provide peer-to-peer sharing
  • Assisting with cost-cutting plans
  • Building up quality improvement capabilities and capacities

“Improving care is a never-ending march toward perfection, and no number of accolades will slow that march,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement. “Patients have high expectations about the care hospitals provide, and getting to zero patient safety incidents is the goal of every hospital. Continued progress will be made as hospitals share what they learned through the HEN project with the rest of the field,” Pollack said.