Mar. 22, 2017: Report: N.J. Hospitals Reduced Healthcare Costs by $641 Million Through Quality Improvement Initiative 77,342 cases of patient harm avoided from 2012 to 2016

PRINCETON – New Jersey’s hospitals and health systems averted 77,342 cases of patient harm and saved $641 million in healthcare costs between 2012 and 2016, thanks to their participation in a national quality improvement program.

The results reflect five years of progress under Partnership for Patients-New Jersey, part of a national initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS selected the New Jersey Hospital Association and its affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, to lead the effort in the Garden State.

Working Together to Make Healthcare Better: Partnership for Patients-NJ 2012-2016 is a progress report released by NJHA today that details five years of data documenting the improvements in care and the resulting healthcare cost savings. In 13 different categories, reflecting concerns such as post-surgical infections, patient falls, adverse drug events and hospital readmissions, New Jersey hospitals have achieved double-digit improvement in occurrence rates.

“We spend a lot of time collecting and analyzing data in this initiative, but the bottom line is this: Patients in a New Jersey hospital today are much less likely to experience an adverse event like an infection after surgery, or a pressure ulcer, or an adverse reaction to medication,” said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan. “Good healthcare requires teamwork, and in this initiative we have hospitals and post-acute providers; physicians, nurses and other clinical professionals; and patients and their caregivers all working together as part of the team.”

NJHA was first awarded the federal contract as a “hospital engagement network” in 2011, part of the quality improvement provisions of the Affordable Care Act. With contract extensions, the total value of the federal contract was $10.3 million.

The initiative continues in 2017, with NJHA selected last year to remain as one of just 16 “hospital improvement innovation networks,” now moved under the umbrella of the Medicare program to focus on improved care for the program’s beneficiaries.

Under the initiative, baseline data was collected beginning in 2012. This report reflects a full five years of data collection, through the end of 2016.

The top three areas with the greatest declines in incidence rates are:

  • adverse drug events (a 55 percent decline)
  • venous thromboembolism – or blood clot (50 percent decline)
  • and early elective deliveries before week 39 of a pregnancy (49 percent.)

The results that generated the greatest healthcare cost savings are:

  • $581.6 million in savings by reducing the rate of hospital readmissions by 30 percent
  • $34.5 million in savings by reducing the rate of pressure ulcers by 38 percent
  • and $9.4 million in savings through the decline in adverse drug events.

To achieve these results, healthcare professionals from across the state’s provider community join with NJHA in a series of education programs with industry experts. Other keys to improvement include standard use of industry best practices, uniform use of tools like checklists and algorithms, monthly data collection and routine sharing among participants.

“By bringing together providers through webinars, face-to-face learning sessions and site visits, the healthcare community has shared with each other tools and practices that are known to work in improving patient care,” said Aline Holmes, DNP, RN, NJHA’s senior vice president of clinical affairs. “It empowers healthcare providers to implement evidence based best practices in care at the bedside and throughout organizations.”

Working Together also highlights how these partnerships utilized proven strategies to achieve better patient safety, as well as brief interviews with those directly involved in patient safety initiatives: family advocates, nurses, physicians and executives.

The report also reviews where the program will continue to focus in 2017 and beyond. The report in its entirety can be found at: