People Innovation Excellence

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION BEATS POUNDING FOR A CURE

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Picture source:http://openarmsadultcare.com

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER ? VOLUME 47 NUMBER 3

BY AMANDA MEWBORN

I started 2015 with resolution for improving many aspects of my life. I decided to transition into clinical quality and process improvement for a local health system. I am now engaged in direct clinical quality improvement initiatives, I find the statistics even more staggering. Various publications argue about the number of deaths caused by preventable healthcare adverse events (errors). Depending on the estimate, the numbers each year range from 98,000 to 400,000 in the united states.

It is not acceptable, and in my new job, I?m hoping to do something about it. As I focus on quality improvement, I?m intrigued by care innovations that focus on preventing the need for expansive, complex healthcare. Keeping patients out of hospitals reduces the risk that they will die from an adverse event. The concept of preventing the patient from becoming a patient is a lot cheaper, and it is better for the patient.

I recently read an article in the The Atlantic Monthly titled ?The Quiet Health-Care Revolution.? The article discussed the CareMore model of providing more preventive care and less reactive care to patients. This company serves elderly patients and provide interventions such as wireless scales to monitor the weight of patients with congestive heart failure and wireless blood pressure cuff to monitor people with high blood pressure.

The article stated some pretty amazing outcomes: hospitalization rate 24% below averages, hospital stay 38% shorter and an amputation rate among diabetics that is 60% lower then averages. Based on this case study, it seems that preventing the need for care may be a win-win. While all of these interventions save live, I am hopeful that the eventual focus will shift from preventing harm in the hospital to preventing the patient from being in the hospital in the first place.


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