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Hospital Engagement Networks Lauded for Lessening Hospital Harm, Costs

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2014

Umbdenstock and Conway made their remarks during an AHA Town Hall webcast Wednesday in which leaders from the Rockford Health System in Rockford, IL and Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center in Poteau, OK, two organizations participating in the AHA's HEN, presented specifics on how the project had improved care at their hospitals.

And while he said he was pleased that 80% of the nation's hospitals now participate in these HENs, which were set up under the Partnership for Patients made possible by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Conway said five key areas still need attention:

  • 1,300 hospitals still don't participate in the HEN program.
  • Not all HEN hospitals report data for all 10 types of preventable harm targeted by the HEN program.
  • Hospital quality leaders need to involve members of their C-suites to expand the types of harm they're targeting. "Working on one or two areas is great. But working on all 10 areas, maybe even new areas of harm not identified yet by Partnership for Patients, is the goal," he said.
  • Hospitals have recognized the harm that a catheter-associated urinary tract infection causes. "The next phase is how do we work to reduce that harm…and spread best practices…" and eliminate disparities in practices across the board.
  • Hospitals need to find ways to engage patients and families in this effort. Those patients and families "identified issues that we as providers often hadn't seen" and are often "the most valuable members of our team," Conway said.
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