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Hospital quality and safety initiative saves $557M

Hospitals participating in the Premier healthcare alliance's QUEST: High Performing Hospitals national collaborative have saved an estimated 8,043 lives and $577 million in one year, according to an analysis from Premier.

QUEST is a voluntary, three-year project made up of 157 participants across 31 states and including urban/rural, large/small and teaching/non-teaching facilities. Developed in partnership with Premier and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, it's designed to lift hospitals to higher levels of performance and inform public policy decisions.

Premier revealed that, of the approximately 2.3 million patients treated annually in participating hospitals, 24,818 additional patients received treatments that met the highest quality patient care standards when compared to baseline performance at the outset of the project.

Premier's analysis claimed that non-participating hospitals could save an estimated 52,760 lives if they were able to achieve the improvements found among QUEST participants.

"These remarkable results highlight what can be achieved when hospitals assume the leadership needed to set high goals, focus on continuous improvement and commit to action that yields positive outcomes for patients," said Susan DeVore, Premier's president and CEO, in a statement. "Imagine if the remaining 97 percent of U.S. hospitals not participating in QUEST could replicate these results – cost reductions and quality improvements would be significant."

QUEST benchmarked participating facilities to determine the "baseline" level of performance in cost, mortality and evidence-based care delivery. Hospitals were then challenged to overcome the main factors that lead to deaths, errors and excessive costs and measure themselves against one another to achieve top performance.

According to Premier, QUEST hospitals in the first project year reduced the cost of care by an average of $343 per patient and increased the delivery of every recommended patient care measure by 8.74 percentage points to deliver every recommended evidence-based care measure an average of 86.3 percent of the time.

QUEST hospitals also achieved a 14 percent reduction in observed mortality when compared to what was expected.

"This project gives us an opportunity to benchmark our mortality data against other organizations to see how we compare," said Martin Scott, MD, vice president of quality and patient safety at the Institute for Clinical Effectiveness at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga. "We've been able to learn from other organizations' best practices and, in turn, have been able to share some of our experience and successes."

Additional performance metrics will be added to QUEST in years two and three of the program. These include preventing incidents of harm in more than 30 categories, including healthcare-acquired infections and birth injuries, and improving the patient's overall care experience and loyalty to the care-providing facility.

Premier recently expanded participation in the QUEST project, adding more than 30 hospitals, and will offer additional opportunities to enroll in the future. The original group of hospitals will serve as mentors, sharing best practices they have learned through QUEST.