December 2, 2014, New York, NY - The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – a US Department of Health and Human Services division – has published preliminary estimates for 2013 data showing a 17% decline in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) from 2010 to 2013.

Had rates remained steady at 2010 levels, the publication estimates 1.3 million patients would have been affected - potentially resulting in the unnecessary loss of 50,000 lives. Beyond the human suffering apparently prevented, the document suggests that approximately $12 billion in costs may have been saved from 2010 to 2013, based on these reductions.

Over 90% of the data associated with the HAC analysis is based on the direct review of medical records. The savings in lives and dollars were estimated based on the individual reductions seen for each type of HAC. These individual reductions were calculated against cost and mortality rates using a variety of sources and derivation methods detailed within the AHRQ publication.

Significantly, the publication’s data highlights the great disparity in reduction rates achieved across the spectrum of HAC types. A near 44% reduction in the rate of Adverse Drug Effects (ADEs) stands in stark contrast to less than 5% reductions in both falls and surgical site infections; and less than 1% reductions achieved across many other categories including: central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonias and (post-op) venous Thromboembolisms.

Although the preliminary data indicates areas of marked improvement, the authors clearly remind the reader that 2013 HAC rates are still too high - at 121 per 1,000 discharges affecting almost one out of every ten patients.

Click on the link below to read the Interim Update on 2013 Annual Hospital-Acquired Condition Rate and Estimates of Cost Savings and Deaths Averted From 2010 to 2013 (From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ):