But take a look anyway, if you have an interest in process improvement in hospitals. This is a collection of my best posts on this topic.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Progress in the ICUs

Our Medical Executive Committee recently received a report from our Critical Care Committee. I cannot be more proud of our staff and the progress they have made to reduce harm and improve quality of care in our ICUs. I include two of the charts.

Let me translate the implications of the reduction in Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP). Preventing 744 cases over three years -- at a treatment cost of about $20,000 per case -- translates into a societal savings of $14.9 million during this period.

The rate of central line infections also dropped from 4.14 to 0.52 cases per 1000 patient days between FY2003 and FY2009, a reduction of 83%.

This probably reflects lost revenue for the hospital under the fee-for-service reimbursement system. So why do we do it? First, because it is the right thing to do and saves lives.

Hundreds of lives.

On the business front, it has contributed to a reduction in length of stay in our ICUs. We were able to avoid the multi-million dollar capital cost of expanding our ICU capacity. Indeed, we were able to create capacity out of the existing facilities and improve throughput.

I hope that those who argue that global payments (i.e., capitation) are a necessary condition to create societal cost savings and improve patient care will read this. I do not deny that such a payment methodology may be worth implementing for other reasons, but there is a lot that can and should be done under the current payment system.

While the state debate goes on about cost control, why can't we get all of the hospitals in Boston to release information like this about their quality improvement efforts to provide the public and public officials with a sense of confidence that we care about these matters and are willing to be held accountable.

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