How NJ hospitals saved $614M in healthcare costs, averted 77K cases of patient harm over five years

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A national quality improvement is being credited for the reason New Jersey hospitals and health systems were able to save $641 million in healthcare costs and prevent 77,000 cases of patient harm between 2012 and 2016.

A national quality improvement initiative is being credited as the reason New Jersey hospitals and health systems were able to save $641 million in healthcare costs and prevent 77,000 cases of patient harm between 2012 and 2016.

The New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) has released a progress report (PDF) that chronicles the progress its hospitals have made over five years under the Partnership for Patients-New Jersey program, part of a national initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS selected the association and its affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey to lead the statewide effort.

The study documents improvements in care that resulted in the healthcare cost savings. Among the biggest accomplishments: double-digit improvements in occurrence rates for postsurgical infections, patient falls, adverse drug events and hospital readmissions.

“We spend a lot of time collecting and analyzing data in this initiative, but the bottom line is this: Patients in a New Jersey hospital today are much less likely to experience an adverse event like an infection after surgery, or a pressure ulcer, or an adverse reaction to medication,” said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan in the study announcement. “Good healthcare requires teamwork, and in this initiative we have hospitals and post-acute providers; physicians, nurses and other clinical professionals; and patients and their caregivers all working together as part of the team.”

Hospitals in The Garden State saw the greatest declines in incident rates for:

  • Adverse drug events (55% decline)
  • Venous thromboembolism or blood clot (50% decline)
  • Early elective deliveries before week 39 of a pregnancy (49%)

They achieved the greatest healthcare costs savings in three areas:

  • $581.6 million in savings by reducing the rate of hospital readmissions by 30%
  • $34.5 million in savings by reducing the rate of pressure ulcers by 38%
  • $9.4 million in savings through the decline in adverse drug events

The hospitals were able to make strides in these area by participating in a series of educational programs with industry experts by following industry best practices, adopting the use of checklists and algorithms, collecting monthly data and sharing their experiences.

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