Hospital-acquired conditions cost billions, killed thousands in 2016


Hospital-acquired conditions, such as air embolism, falls and trauma, and vascular catheter-associated infection, continue to be a problem in U.S. hospitals, according to a research brief from IBM Watson Health.

Researchers used the 2016 IBM Watson Health Projected Inpatient Database — which contains about 20 million discharges annually from more than 2,600 acute care hospitals — to examine outcomes across 14 HAC categories.

They found there were 48,771 HACs in 2016, resulting in 3,219 potentially avoidable deaths and total excess hospital operational costs of more than $2 billion. They also found HACs added an average of eight days to patient average length of stay and increased the risk of death per patient by 72 percent.

"It is critical that healthcare providers continue to rigorously track and report these conditions so clinical performance can be measured against hard data to chart improvement over time," the researchers concluded. "This effort will require continued collaboration between public and private institutions to track and measure performance and find ways to systematically reduce these avoidable conditions."




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