More than 1,500 hospitals participating in the AHA/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) improved care for more than 143,000 patients since January 2012, resulting in an estimated cost savings of more than $1.3 billion, according to results released July 16.
Among other improvements, participating hospitals prevented more than 110,000 readmissions; nearly 19,000 early elective deliveries (which can increase complications); and more than 8,500 infections.
Through its Partnership for Patients Initiative, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in December 2011 awarded $218 million to the 26 HENs. HRET leads the largest HEN with nearly 1,600 hospitals in 31 states. Nearly half of HRET’s participants are rural hospitals, and many of those are critical access hospitals – the type of small facilities that may not have the internal capacity or resources to manage largescale improvement activities.
Like most of the HENs, HRET engages hospitals through a combination of inperson training sessions and virtual events such as webinars and coaching calls. It fosters peer-topeer learning and supports the implementation of best practices. “The latest results from the HEN effort are outstanding and highlight the success that quality improvement professionals can make within their hospitals and health systems,” said Maulik Joshi, president of HRET and senior vice president for AHA. “Our efforts to provide only the safest, highestquality care are just beginning, and the HEN, through its hospital participants and state hospital partners, is making incredible strides forward.”
AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock cited the HENs’ quality and patient safety improvements in his testimony before a July 16 House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on what the Department of Veterans Affairs can learn from the private health care sector.
“The program has helped the hospital field develop the infrastructure, expertise and organizational culture to support further quality improvement for years to come,” he told the committee. (For more on the hearing, see the story on page 3.) For more on the HEN project, visit www.hret-hen.org.