Health plan teams with hospitals to improve patient safety, cut costs

Working in cooperation with doctors and hospitals, Anthem Blue Cross is kicking off a statewide effort designed to share data on how to improve patient safety and cut costs.

Under the terms of the project--which Anthem is backing to the tune of $6 million--doctors, nurses and other hospital clinicians will meet regularly over the next three years to compare practices and data for reducing common critical problems such as hospital-borne infections. The program will be run by the National Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on improving healthcare for underserved populations.

In addition to slashing hospital infection rates, Anthem also hopes to lower the number of births induced early for nonmedical reasons, arguing that such procedures can create expensive complications. Considerable data exists that even babies born in late preterm (37 to 39 weeks) suffer post-birth complications more often than infants who aren't born until week 39 or later.

The program follows on an effort by Kaiser Permanente, which has begun collecting and sharing data on patient infections within its hospitals. More than one-third of the HMO's hospitals have not experienced a single central-line blood infection since the program kicked off, Kaiser reports.

To get more information on Anthem's efforts:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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