Tennessee Hospitals Safer Today Than Three Years Ago

Tennessee Center for Patient Safety has helped dramatically reduce hospital infections and other complications over past three years.

 NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, August 30, 2011—Patients at hospitals in Tennessee are safer on several key measures today than they were three years ago, as a result of the work of the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety, a collaboration between the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA), BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and 122 hospitals across the state.

 Hospitals working in tandem with the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety reported an improvement of 36 percent in central line infections between 2008 and the end of 2010. Central line infections among neonatal or infant patients were reduced 46 percent over the same time period.

The incidence of hospital onset Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, widely known as MRSA, dropped 21 percent from 2008 through 2010.

The rate of complication after surgery improved between 15 percent and 60 percent in five critical areas at 10 hospitals participating in the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program pilot project promoted by the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety.

“These are significant achievements and the credit goes to the doctors, nurses and the other healthcare professionals that staff our hospitals,” said Craig A. Becker, THA president and chief executive officer. “Patients, their families, their employers and hospitals are the beneficiaries of much focused hard work that has been invested by hospital patient safety teams across Tennessee.”

In addition to the obvious benefits, the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety estimates the improvement of the state’s hospitals already has saved more than $11 million in healthcare costs associated with addressing hospital-associated patient care conditions--$4.8 million in the area of central line infections, $2 million resulting from MRSA and $4.5 million in surgical complications.

“When BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee partnered with the hospitals of our state more than three years ago, we believed the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety could be an important step toward improving the reliability, safety and quality of care received by patients,” said Vicky Gregg, president and chief executive officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “We are proud to have participated in creating a climate of change across the state that is gaining national recognition for its efforts. These results are a good foundation for accelerated progress in the years ahead.”

The Tennessee Center for Patient Safety was one of the first state centers to achieve widespread participation of hospitals in its programs. Presently, 94 percent of acute care hospitals in the state participate in one or more of the center’s initiatives.

“Without reservation, Tennessee and the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety are doing exceptional work. The state is among the best in the nation at engaging hospitals and taking action to achieve continuous learning and patient safety improvement,” said Peter J. Pronovost, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Research Institute in Baltimore, MD, and one of the country’s most recognized patient safety advocates. “The Tennessee Center for Patient Safety is consistently challenging Tennessee’s hospitals to build on the progress that has already been made.”

About the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety:

The mission of the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety is to advance Tennessee hospitals’ adoption of proven strategies that enhance the reliability, safety and quality of care received by patients. Established in 2007, the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety primarily is funded by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and operated by the Tennessee Hospital Association. Priority is given to initiatives designed to measurably improve care for patients and proactively position hospitals for performance on publicly-reported national quality measures. For additional information, visit www.tnpatientsafety.com


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