In the face of the most substantial increase in health insurance costs for US employers in a decade, the blame game intensifies. Reports indicate that expenditures are poised to surge between 5.4% to 8.5% in 2024, with fingers pointing in various directions. Medical inflation, labor shortages, the demand for costly weight-loss drugs and the accessibility of high-priced gene therapies all contribute to the complex equation.
A recent feature in SIIA's magazine, The Self-Insurer, sheds light on a significant contributor that often flies under the radar—the impact of hospital stays. The pharmaceutical industry asserts a myopic focus on drug spending, highlighting data that reveals approximately 30% of every healthcare dollar spent in the United States can be attributed to hospitals. Their growing role in driving costs for patients and the broader healthcare system is a contentious issue.
Dr. Amy Hester, PhD, RN, BC, FAAN, chairwoman and CEO, HD Nursing, was featured in the article emphasizing the need for robust fall prevention programs. The article delves into the proactive measures taken by industry leaders to address falls and injuries in healthcare facilities and cut costs.
Insights on Falls in Healthcare
The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) reports that falls account for 1 in 12 closed claims. Slip/falls, constituting about 6% of all claims in their database, result in significant indemnity and defense costs, averaging approximately $80,000.
In the article, Dr. Hester stresses the importance of employers ensuring that hospitals or health systems have evidence-based fall prevention programs in place.
Research-Supported Programs for Safer Patients
The HD Falls Prevention Program, spearheaded by Dr. Hester, incorporates advanced research to identify each patient's fall risk factors, develop individualized prevention plans and consistently implement these plans through staff and patient engagement. Notably, these programs not only reduce patient falls but also minimize injuries arising from falls, contributing to a safer healthcare environment.
Dr. Hester highlights the effectiveness of the Hester-Davis Scale© (HDS©), a validated assessment tool designed to accurately identify patients most likely to fall and document their specific modifiable fall risk factors. These risk factors are meticulously linked to interventions in population-specific care plans,
integrated into the hospital's EHR system for improved patient care outcomes.
Aligning with recommendations from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Dr. Hester advises hospitals and health systems to regularly assess fall rates, care processes and infrastructure to support best practices. HD Nursing's approach emphasizes predicting who is at risk, comprehensive care
planning and services to sustain improvements over time.
Dr. Amy Hester's insights underscore the critical role of evidence-based fall prevention programs in mitigating risks, enhancing patient safety and ultimately reducing healthcare costs. As healthcare stakeholders continue to grapple with the challenges of patient falls, HD Nursing remains at the forefront, providing innovative solutions that make a meaningful impact on patient care.