No harm campaign saves health system $10M

It was a "zero-defect, no-excuses" approach to healthcare outcomes that helped Henry Ford Health System save millions for the Southeast Michigan health system.

With a commitment to patient safety and quality improvement, Henry's Ford's "No Harm Campaign," which began in 2008, lead to $10 million in cost savings at its five hospitals over four years that translates into net income gains, Crain's Detroit Business reported.

"We were surprised at the savings," Henry Ford's Chief Quality Officer William Conway said. "I knew there was some, but not this much."

Henry Ford earned $60.9 million in 2010, a 104 percent increase from 2009, Crain's noted. That amounts to cost savings of 8 to 9 percent each year.

The health system, which won a coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award yesterday, attributes the cost savings by making quality and patient safety a priority--cutting patient harm events by 31 percent from 2008 to 2011, assigning pharmacists to monitor medications that patients receive to cut medication-related events by 11 percent, curbing preventable infections by 45 percent, and reducing surgical complications which cut length of stay by 1.9 days.

Henry Ford's experiences illustrate that quality improvement efforts can have a high return on investment.

"You can save lives and save dollars at the same time," Conway said in the Crain's article.

For more information:
- see the company announcement
- here's the Crain's Detroit Business article (registration required)

Related Articles:
Study: Robots more expensive, not more effective for surgery
Keep buns in the oven: Hospitals to save $1B by reducing early deliveries
Hospital teamwork improves surgical outcomes, saves $2M
Post-surgical inpatient deaths plummet