The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a report, “Interim Update on 2013 Annual Hospital-Acquired Condition Rate and Estimates of Cost Savings and Deaths Averted From 2010 to 2013” which provides preliminary 2013 estimates for hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), which include adverse events like falls, pressure ulcers, infections, and adverse drug events acquired during a patient’s hospital stay. The report finds a 17 percent decline in HACs from 2010 to 2013, equaling 1.3 million fewer patient harms over the three years. The decline also resulted in 50,000 fewer patients dying in a hospital as a result of a HAC, and a savings of $12 billion in health care costs. The data is part of a national measurement strategy on patient safety, coordinated in part by AHRQ, which produces the “AHRQ National Scorecard” on the HAC rate.
The report notes, “Although the precise causes of the decline in patient harm are not fully understood, the increase in safety has occurred during a period of concerted attention by hospitals throughout the country to reduce adverse events.” In a blog post, AHRQ director Richard Kronick called the results “unprecedented,” and observed, “More remains to be done, but we should mark the progress we’ve seen to date because it shows that we are finally on the right track.”