Study: Hospitals save millions with surgical complication prevention

A value-based analysis approach to preventing post-surgical deep-vein thrombosis cut hospital costs by more than $1.5 million per year, a study in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds.

The analysis "simultaneously measures quality and cost and addresses inefficiencies in care," researchers at MedStar Health and Georgetown University School of Medicine report in an announcement from the American College of Surgeons. It compares best practice and usual practice, all while analyzing cost.

The researchers developed and implemented a clinical best practice at four of MedStar's eight hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, according to the announcement. Changes included limiting use of sequential compression devices on the lower legs to outpatient and short-stay procedures, and using a less-expensive type of blood thinner.

The best practice could save the hospital system $4 million a year, the researchers noted. The study also showed the most effective way to cut costs and increase value was by influencing the supplies and materials physicians use.

A separate quality improvement initiative known as QUEST, which helps hospitals share data and best practices for preventing infections, has saved more than 300 hospitals $9.1 billion since 2008 .

That initiative focused on reducing incidents of often-fatal hospital-acquired sepsis. Participating hospitals reduced sepsis mortality rates by 23 percent, saving about 6,800 lives per year, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the announcement