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JENNIFER UDUJE: Patients deserve better care » Standard-Times.

JENNIFER UDUJE: Patients deserve better care

  • Jennifer Uduje
  • Posted May 23, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The day before Mother’s Day, a 14-year-old girl who lives alone with her grandmother left the hospital by herself. Her grandmother, who was supposed to be released before Mother’s Day, would not be going home for some time. This is not because of the total hip replacement surgery she had recently undergone, but because she acquired an infection while in the hospital.

This young girl is worried not only about her grandmother’s health, but also the added cost of her hospital stay. This story exemplifies the challenges of poor quality in the delivery of health care services, an issue that needs to be addressed.

Poor quality in the delivery of health care services is evidenced by hospital-acquired infections, patients’ falls and preventable medical errors. These issues have a negative impact on a consumer’s health and are the primary causes of increases in health care costs.

According to Chiou-Fen, Chyn-Yng, Meei-Show and Ching-Chiu, hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs, serve as an important indicator of the quality of health care and patient safety. In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that HAIs in the United States account for about 2 million infections, 99,000 deaths and an estimated $4.5 billion in excess medical costs annually.

Health care reform objectives focus on improving patient safety, quality of care and affordability. Additionally, by 2013 hospital Medicare payments will be associated to quality indicators at the health care facilities. Therefore, quality improvement would serve as an essential measure to protect the consumers and the public from poor quality in the delivery of health care services and also work as a cost saving protective health service.

Healthy People 2020 states that hospital-acquired infections are among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States. Furthermore, it recommends that the use of core measures and practices could yield approximately $25 billion to $31.5 billion in medical costs.

Health care facilities can begin to make strides toward quality improvement by adhering to the universal safety precautions such as proper hand-washing regimen during patient care, by educational teaching and by developing the mindset of the whole multidisciplinary health care team to use a patient-centered approach of care to improve expected outcome, increase consumer satisfaction with the care provided, and improve health.

To provide the best quality care, policies and procedures should be in place and evaluated after implementation to assess their effectiveness. Consequently, incorporation of quality improvement committees in health care organizations is necessary to improve the quality of clinical practices and to improve overall safety for the patients.

Preventive screening, fall risk assessment upon admission, chart auditing and health care team performance appraisal are some of the quality measures in place in San Angelo Community Hospital in Texas. Healthy People 2020′s recent study proposes that the implementation of existing prevention measures can lead to a 70 percent reduction of in certain HAIs.

On the other hand, the Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs, launched by the Obama administration, aims to use quality improvement to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent by the end of 2013 when compared with 2010. This means that within three years there will be roughly 1.8 million fewer injuries to patient, while more than 60,000 lives will be saved.

Accomplishing this goal, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, may result in saving up to $35 billion across the health care system, including up to $10 billion in Medicare savings, over the course of three years. It also can result in reduction of Medicare cost by approximately $50 billion over the next 10 years.

Quality improvement can be successful with the collaboration of health care teams and adherence and understanding of the universal safety precautions. The developed mindset for the health care team is that the whole process of quality health care starts with “You and I” when the patient arrives to the facility, to the emergency department or as a direct admits to the unit.

Jennifer Uduje is a nursing student at Angelo State University.

  • JENNIFER UDUJE: Patients deserve better care (gosanangelo.com)
  • Can a Reduction in Hospital Acquired Infections Cut Health Care Costs? (rwjfblogs.typepad.com)
  • ‘Epidemic’ of medical errors killing thousands: Book (thesudburystar.com)
  • HAI, Hospital Acquired Infections: Has It Happened To You? (notwiredthatway.wordpress.com)
  • Degmor Health Inc. Positioned to Reduce Healthcare Acquired Infections (prweb.com)
  • U.S. hospital-acquired infections down (upi.com)
  • Better hand hygiene reduces hospital infections (radionz.co.nz)
  • Hospital Acquired Infections cost $45 Billion Annually; 9 of every 200 Hospital Patients Will Become Infected in the Hospital (prweb.com)
  • Waging a High-Tech Battle Against Hospital-Acquired Infections (njspotlight.com)
  • Report on Hospital Acquired Infection in CA Released (thielst.typepad.com)
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