Approximately one in 25 patients will contract at least one infection during their stay in the hospital. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the number of hospital acquired infections has dropped slightly since 2011, according to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011 about 4 percent of patients developed an infection while in the hospital. That number is now down to 3.2 percent (2015 data). (The CDC’s findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, November 1, 2018.)
Recent efforts to make hospitals safer seem to be paying off. The goal is an ambitious one, to say the least: to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 1.8 million from 2014 to 2019, a 20% reduction that will save 19.1 billion dollars in hospital costs (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). Optimism is growing that this goal may be attainable.
The shift from inpatient care to outpatient care is the new normal, and hospitals are being forced to deal with the bottom-line consequences. Hospital beds are being replaced by thousands of ambulatory surgery centers, free-standing emergency rooms, and urgent-care centers. “In the early 1990s, outpatient care accounted for only 10% to 15% of hospital revenue. Today, that figure is closer to 60%” (modern healthcare.com).
A ton of patient information exchanges hands daily: patient to doctor, doctor to patient, doctor to doctor, doctor to hospital, and so on. Much of this exchange is now by text messaging, as many doctors find it faster and more efficient than emails and phone calls. Unfortunately, doctors are often completely unaware of the legal pitfalls involved in text messaging and how to avoid them.
Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner, HIPAA-compliant encrypted solutions, hospital, HIPPA, Medical Economics, patient information, patient record, PHI, protected health information, SecureChat, SecureText, text messaging policy, text orders