Hospital-Acquired Conditions Continue Downward Trend

Megan Brooks

January 30, 2019

National efforts to curb hospital-acquired conditions such as adverse drug events and healthcare-associated infections helped prevent 20,500 hospital deaths and save $7.7 billion in healthcare costs from 2014 to 2017, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

There were an estimated 910,000 fewer hospital-acquired conditions from 2014 to 2017, according to a preliminary analysis of the data. The estimated rate of hospital-acquired conditions dropped 13%, from 99 per 1000 acute care discharges to 86 per 1000 during the study period. (From 2010 through preliminary 2017, the overall rate of hospital-acquired conditions fell about 4.5%.)

The updated data show declines in several hospital-acquired conditions, including adverse drug events, Clostridioides difficile infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections (-5%), and central line-associated bloodstream infections (-6%), while pressure ulcers increased and surgical-site infections held steady.

Hospital-Acquired Condition % Change
Clostridioides difficile infections -37%
Adverse drug events -28%
Venous thromboembolisms -17%
Ventilator-associated pneumonia -13%
Central-line bloodstream infections -6%
catheter-associated urinary tract infections -5%
Falls -5%
Obstetric adverse events -5%
Surgical site infections 0%
Pressure ulcers +6%
All other hospital-acquired conditions -12%

"CMS is delivering on improving quality and safety at America's hospitals. Our work isn't done and we will continue our efforts to hold providers accountable for delivering results," CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a news release.

"The updated estimates are a testament to the successes we've seen in continuing to reduce hospital-acquired conditions," added AHRQ director Gopal Khanna. "There's no question that challenges still remain in addressing the problem of hospital-acquired conditions, such as pressure ulcers. But the gains highlighted today were made thanks to the persistent work of many stakeholders' ongoing efforts to improve care for all patients."

CMS has set a goal of reducing hospital-acquired conditions by 20% between 2014 and 2019. If achieved, AHRQ projects the 20% reduction would result in 1.8 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions over this period, potentially resulting in 53,000 fewer deaths and saving $19.1 billion in hospital costs.

The full report is available online.

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