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Calculating the ROI on Patient Satisfaction Efforts

Sandie Colatrella, RN, BSN, CLNC for HealthLeaders Media, June 28, 2011

A health system that does not have patient safety reports that encourage patient confidence will not only have trouble enticing patients but will now be penalized with reduced revenues resulting from never events and hospital-acquired conditions. With the advent of never-events and hospital-acquired conditions impacting healthcare reimbursement, facilities are driven by both the financial and legal impact of medical errors.

Thirty-three percent of all reported incidents to NPSA were "slips and falls" at a cost of approximately $24,962 per case. Define the savings of risk mitigation by analyzing and documenting incidents and safety improvements through progressive clinical processes. The following steps can reduce patient slip and fall incidents dramatically: Shorter distances between the bed and bath; limiting travel in open spaces and providing resting points; increasing opportunities for staff observation; careful selection of flooring choices; consideration for dementia conceptualization; improved way finding.

Hospital-acquired infections translate into $21.3 billion dollars per year, according to data from CMS. Post-op sepsis alone costs an estimated $9,000 per case. This problem can be approached by adding hand washing and hand sanitizing stations, HEPA filters, anti-microbial finishes including floors, counter tops, furniture, and fabrics.

One organization replaced all of its counter surfaces with a solid surface that had anti-microbial properties after a high-price lawsuit following the unfortunate death of a patient from a hospital-acquired infection. The plaintiff's attorney had established evidence that the bacteria that had stricken the patient was traced to the work surfaces in the patient's room.

Two out of every hundred patients experience an adverse drug event at a cost of $4,700 per case. Research has revealed that medication errors can be reduced by 30% by increasing the size of medication rooms, reorganizing supplies, improving lighting, and controlling noise and distraction thereby preventing misinterpretation of verbal orders.

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