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Why most hospitals could save millions by improving patient safety

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The first wave of COVID-19 may gave subsided in some areas of the United States, but in others it is growing and hospitals everywhere are continuing to face significant challenges.

The American Hospital Association recently estimated that hospitals will incur at least $323.1 billion in losses through the end of this year due to COVID-19. Key contributors include postponed and cancelled elective procedures, lower patient volumes across all departments, and higher costs for supplies and devices.

Other factors compound the financial challenges, including pressure for hospitals to implement new initiatives that foster a safer care environment for COVID-19 patients, non-COVID-19 patients, and healthcare providers. This pressure is mounting, as spikes in cases continue to appear in various regions, and as concerns grow about the flu season.

The good news is that improving patient, staff, and visitor safety can actually help hospitals recover from the financial losses they are experiencing due to the pandemic. For example, enhanced patient safety leads to:

  • Fewer costly events, such as hospital-acquired infections or conditions, acute kidney injuries, adverse drug events, readmissions, and return visits to the emergency department.
  • Faster and more proactive identification of cost-saving opportunities, such as IV to PO conversions and more optimal management of high-cost drugs.
  • Higher patient volumes due to a stronger quality and safety reputation. 

Hospitals face significant financial challenges, but they must also act quickly to ensure patient, staff, and visitor safety. Luckily, improving margins and enhancing patient safety don’t need to be competing priorities. When hospitals implement effective safety improvement approaches, margin improvements naturally follow.

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Source: MedCity News, 25 October 2020

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