Study: Advocate hospitals saved nearly $4.9M by implementing nutrition care program

Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Health Care saved nearly $4.9 million dollars by reducing readmission rates and shortening inpatient stays after implementing a nutrition care program at four Chicago hospitals, according to research published in American Health & Drug Benefits.

Advocate implemented the nutrition care program, aimed at addressing the increasing burden of patient malnutrition, in 2014. A study published in 2016 found that the nutrition intervention program helped Advocate reduce readmissions by 27 percent and shortened hospital stays by nearly two days.

The new research used a web-based budget impact model to examine the cost savings of this program by comparing data from 1,269 patients enrolled in the nutrition care program to the cohort of patients prior to the nutrition improvement program's implementation. 

Researchers found that optimizing nutrition care in the four hospitals resulted in cost savings of nearly $3,800 per patient treated for malnutrition, leading to nearly $4.9 million in collective savings from implementing the program.

"Value-based care means looking comprehensively at patient care to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement," Lee Sacks, MD, executive vice president and CMO of Advocate Health Care, said. "The study's findings demonstrate that modest changes in the way we care for patients, such as ensuring patients are nourished during their hospital stay, can have a big impact in reducing costs and improving health outcomes."

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