Joint Commission tool to limit falls could save hospitals $1 million annually

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | August 14, 2015
Business Affairs Population Health Risk Management
The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare is stepping up to help hospitals reduce the number of accidents that take place within their halls. Using its Targeted Solutions Tool (TST), the commission estimates the average 200-bed hospital could reduce the amount of falls from 117 to 45 — generating roughly $1 million in savings annually.

TST is an online service that provides a step-by-step process to help hospitals measure the total rate of falls in their facility, as well as the falls that lead to injuries. It also looks at the barriers that may be preventing individual hospitals from lowering their rate of falls and offers solutions to address those barriers.

Hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals every year, which can lead to injuries that require additional treatment and lengthen hospital stays. On average, the Joint Commission estimates serious injuries add 6.3 days to a patient’s hospital stay and cost about $14,056.

TST was developed with the assistance of seven collaborating hospitals, and five additional hospitals have participated in a pilot study to test the fall prevention methodology.

The pilot hospitals reported raised awareness among staff, and said their patients were empowered to take a more active role in their own safety. Ultimately, they reduced the rate of falls by 35 percent, and falls that result in injuries by 62 percent.

Reimbursement is not kind to facilities reporting falls, as CMS identifies them as preventable events that should never occur. Falls that result in fractures, dislocations and intracranial injuries are on its list of Hospital Acquired Conditions.

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