Hospital Initiative, GE-Microsoft Collaboration Target Healthcare-Acquired Conditions

Monday, December 19th, 2011
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Hospitals are the targets of two of our stories this week: an initiative and collaboration both aimed at reducing the millions of preventable injuries and complications arising from hospital-acquired infections (HAI.) Ironically, this refuge for the sick is making people sicker; in the United States alone, an estimated 1.7 million HAIs occur annually, resulting in $35 billion in additional healthcare costs, and the loss of nearly 100,000 lives. As we reported in an earlier story this year, a University of Maryland report found that nearly half of the hospital rooms of patients who tested positive for a multi-drug resistant bacteria were contaminated with the bacteria.

In response to this, hospitals across the country will now have the resources and support to reduce HAIs: the HHS has launched a new initiative called the Hospital Engagement Network. Part of the Partnership for Patients initiative, a nationwide public-private collaboration to improve healthcare, $218 million will be awarded to 26 state, regional, national, and hospital system organizations to help develop learning collaboratives for hospitals and provide a wide array of initiatives and activities to improve patient safety.

And a new collaboration between GE Healthcare and Microsoft is tackling this problem by pulling together data from disparate IT systems and identifying those patients most at risk for a given HAI. Hopefully their solutions will enable healthcare organizations to more effectively deploy their resources and deliver better care at lower costs.

And on a local level, a new ER unit designed solely for seniors is in place in HIN’s backyard, at New Jersey’s Monmouth Medical Center. To ease the increasingly complex needs of those 65 and up, the unit has special age-related features like wall sconces with dimmers and floor lighting to prevent falls. More in this issue.

In other news, a new study shows that disease registries can improve health outcomes and save the United States billions of dollars. Research on 13 registries in five countries, including the United States and Sweden, shows that these tools are becoming even more important under healthcare reform as payments for care are linked to effective treatments. According to our 2011 Survey on patient registries, 68 percent of respondents are using registries to improve care quality.

And lastly, a new report from Deloitte reveals that the majority of physicians do not think that PPACA will reduce costs by increasing efficiency, and they are predicting a continued shortage in primary care physicians as they seek administrative roles in health plans, hospitals and other settings.

These stories and more, in this week’s issue of Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

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