Statewide quality initiatives have resulted in significant improvement in participating hospitals across Florida over the past five years, according to a new report by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA). Among the results from the first five years of the quality initiative is a significant decrease in readmissions and surgical complications, as well as savings of millions of dollars in costs.
As health reform discussions began five years ago, Florida’s hospitals were criticized for poor outcomes and high costs. Although some individual hospitals were focused on quality improvement, Florida ranked among the lowest on national benchmarks for quality and costs.
Florida hospitals set a goal of becoming a national model for high-quality care, prompting more than 160 hospitals to participate in the initial quality improvement programs. Hospitals were able to improve care with educational meetings and statewide events, guidance from national experts, and projects to improve care transitions, culture and communication.
The initiative paid off, and the efforts resulted in notable improvement in participating hospitals. Readmission rates decreased 15 percent, preventing 1,500 readmissions and saving more than $25 million over two years. Surgical complications also dropped — 14.5 percent in just 15 months — resulting in 89 lives saved, 165 complications prevented and more than $6.67 million saved. Blood stream infections and urinary tract infections also went down, 41 and 37 percent respectively, resulting in 38 lives saved and more than $16 million in reduced costs.
The key lessons participating hospitals learned as they worked together to improve care, according to the FHA report, included:
- Collaboration, which helped hospitals improve faster and more efficiently;
- Culture, including communication and teamwork, an integral part implementing and sustaining quality efforts;
- Robust data, which was critical to understanding the problem and tracking progress; and
- Partnerships, which helped extend quality efforts and expand learning opportunities.
Source: Florida Hospital Association, August 13, 2013
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