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Population Health News

MN hospitals reduce adverse events, raise patient safety

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Hospitals in Minnesota have made measurable progress in reducing adverse events such as falls and infections as part of a ten-year project to cut preventable readmissions and raise the quality of care.  The annual patient safety report for hospitals participating in the state’s Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) shows more than 6000 fewer readmissions since 2009 and an 83% reduction in the number of pressure ulcers.

“Minnesota has been recognized by other states as a leader in patient safety and quality care,” said Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). “Our hospitals have made tremendous strides toward the Partnership’s goals, but even more there is a greater emphasis on reducing all causes of harm, not just individual conditions.”

The Minnesota Hospital Network is part of a CMS initiative taking place in 26 locations, focused on reducing the top ten hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent, and slashing preventable readmissions by at least twenty percent.  The networks, which include more than 3700 individual hospitals, have received a total of $218 million to support the goal of better patient safety.

The state’s hospitals have decreased the number of falls by 27% over the past few years, and reduced the number of catheter and central line infections by nearly a quarter.  Surgical site infections related to hysterectomies dropped by 12% and colon surgery infections were reduced by six and a half percent.

“These adverse health experiences are a wicked problem, in the common parlance,” said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota’s state health commissioner, to the Star Tribune. “They’re really complex. They’re [due to] multiple factors. They’re difficult to eliminate, but they are not totally intractable. Without this kind of effort, we would be seeing more harm and more deaths than we are right now.”

In addition to having its HEN contract renewed for an additional year, MHA is one of six hospital engagement networks selected for participation in the Leading Edge Advanced Practice Topics (LEAPT) program, which will focus on an additional set of patient safety measures including sepsis, clostridium difficile, airway safety, exposure to radiation, and a hospital culture of safety.  LEAPT hospitals may also participate in cost savings calculations intended to measure the financial outcomes of these efforts.

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