Why This Is Important
These are big numbers. The data reveals that over the period between 2010 and 2014, 2.1 million fewer patients were injured in the hospital. The resulting impact? Eighty-seven thousand lives were saved, while the savings in healthcare costs were estimated to be roughly $19.8 billion in 2014.
There Is Still Opportunity to Reduce HACs
The trend toward reducing HACs is working, as illustrated by the data presented in Chart 1, and fewer U.S. hospital patients are being harmed by preventable medical errors. With that said, however, there is more work to be done. According to the data,2 the number of injuries per 1,000 patient discharges is still high in a number of categories, as presented in Chart 2.
These HACs cost hospitals money (Chart 3) because they are preventable and as such, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will no longer reimburse the hospital for the cost of them. The term “Never Event” was first used in 2001 in reference to alarming events, such as wrong-site surgery. Since then, the list3 of “Never Events” has increased to identify adverse events that fall into three categories:
- Unambiguous events that are detectable and quantifiable
- Serious events that cause death or substantial disability
- Preventable events
- Product or device
- Patient protection
- Care management
A medical device designed and proven to reduce these complications offers significant economic value that may warrant premium pricing. Hospitals continuously assess medtech to improve clinical outcomes and sustain their own financial health. In any medical specialty, explore product design changes to address these issues. A design innovation that addresses HACs will strengthen your medtech economic value proposition.
- AHRQ Partnership for Patients Web page for methods and data: http://bit.ly/mpo031701.
- Saving Lives and Saving Money: Hospital-Acquired Conditions Update. Interim Data from National Efforts to Make Care Safer, 2010-2014.
Maria Shepherd has more than 20 years of leadership experience in medical device/life-science marketing in small startups and top-tier companies. After her industry career, including her role as vice president of marketing for Oridion Medical—where she boosted the company valuation prior to its acquisition by Covidien/Medtronic—director of marketing for Philips Medical, and senior management roles at Boston Scientific Inc., she founded Medi-Vantage. Medi-Vantage provides marketing and business strategy and innovation research for the medical device industry. The firm quantitatively and qualitatively sizes and segments opportunities, evaluates new technologies, provides marketing services, and assesses prospective acquisitions. Shepherd has taught marketing and product development courses and is a member of the Aligo Medtech Investment Committee (www.msbiv.com). She can be reached at 855-343-3100 ext. 102 or at email@example.com. Visit her website at www.medi-vantage.com.