KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Strategies To Improve Care Include Targeting Hospital Spending, Reducing Hospital Infections

News outlets examine new studies that detail how some hospital-based efforts may lead to improved care.

Reuters: Hospital Spending May Pay Off For Some Conditions
Hospitals that spend more money treating patients with acute illnesses may be better at keeping those patients alive, suggests a new study. The finding is in line with recent research, but it challenges an assumption held by many policymakers that hospitals can be forced to spend less without significant consequences for patient health (Pittman, 1/31).

Reuters: Program Reduces Serious Hospital Infections
A U.S. program to help make sure hospital staff maintain strict hygiene standards lowered death rates in intensive care units by 10 percent, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. Their study, published in the British Medical Journal, adds to a growing body of evidence that changing the hospital culture, including using checklists modeled on those employed by pilots, can reduce errors, saving lives and costs (Fox, 1/31).

The Baltimore Sun: Hospital Anti-Infection Effort Saves Lives
A new study finds that a safety checklist program developed by a Johns Hopkins doctor has reduced patient deaths in Michigan hospitals by 10 percent, in addition to nearly eliminating bloodstream infections in health care facilities that embraced the prevention effort. The research, published in the British Medical Journal, is the first to show a drop in patient mortality in hospitals using the Hopkins program. Previous studies have found major reductions in bloodstream infections from using the checklist when inserting catheters or central lines to give patients medication, fluids or nourishment (Wheeler, 1/31).

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