Best practices for reviewing hospital-acquired conditions

Feb. 20, 2023 / By James Sewell

Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) are adverse events that occur during a hospital stay that may have been avoided through appropriate care and follow up. Identifying and reducing HACs is an important aspect of health care quality improvement and can help to improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs. 

Here are some best practices for reviewing HACs: 

  • Understand the definition: It’s important to understand the definition of HACs and the criteria used to identify them. This will ensure that the conditions being analyzed are truly preventable and not just a result of a patient’s underlying health conditions. 
  • Identify high risk areas: HACs are more likely to occur in certain areas of the hospital, such as the intensive care unit or the emergency department. Identifying these high risk areas can help to target interventions and resources more effectively. 
  • Use data to track progress: It’s important to track progress over time to understand if interventions are working and make adjustments as needed. This can be done by using data from electronic health records (EHRs) or through chart audits. 
  • Involve multidisciplinary teams: HACs often occur due to a lack of coordination among different health care professionals. Involving multidisciplinary teams, such as physicians, nurses and pharmacists, can help to ensure that all aspects of care are considered and that you achieve the best possible outcomes. 
  • Implement evidence-based protocols: Evidence-based protocols are guidelines that have been shown to be effective in reducing HACs. Implementing these protocols can help to ensure that patients receive appropriate care and follow up. 
  • Communicate with patients and families: Effective communication with patients and families is critical for ensuring that patients understand their care plan and follow through with it after discharge. 

By following these best practices, health care organizations can effectively identify and reduce HACs, improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs. Additionally, regular review of HACs can help to identify underlying systems issues and address them proactively. 

James Sewell, product owner for 3M™ 360 Encompass™ Quality Measure Analytics at 3M Health Information Systems.  

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