Any time a healthcare facility considers investing in a new intervention - a medicine, a device, a piece of equipment, and even a training program - one of the first considerations will be cost effectiveness. The facility has a responsibility, both financial and ethical, to weigh the cost of an investment with the likelihood and extent of patient benefits. We would all love to live in a world where hospitals could invest in any and all interventions without thought as to cost and return on investment. Instead, we face a reality in which not only are financial resources limited, but also personnel, space, and even time are constrained. As a result, when millions of dollars and patients' lives are at stake, calculating cost effectiveness of an intervention has a lot on the line.
In a time of crisis, be it a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a global pandemic, there must be plans in place to help responders make life-or-death decisions about how to allocate resources. The nation, the states, cities and individual facilities have disaster plans in place to guide decision-making when time is of essence and people are under duress. Health care workers are particularly burdened by these kinds of weighty decisions, with lives of patients in the balance. In today's post, we'll look at the plan that helps them make the hardest decisions imaginable: The Crisis Standards of Care.
Our previous post presented some of the problems with the current fee-for-service payment model used in healthcare. In response to these costly problems, there are a number of alternative payment models being tested, with promising results. Today we will look at the alternatives that seem to be picking up speed as we move toward reducing our nation's healthcare costs.
In a previous post, we explored the preliminary data describing the status of Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) during the pandemic. These first glimpses painted a picture of challenges to infection control and prevention, and hinted at what might be expected in terms of elevated infection risks despite enhancing cleaning regimens. Now, with the release of the analysis conducted by the National Health Safety Network (NHSN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we finally have the numbers. In a word, they are bleak.
As hard as it is to believe, most hospitals do not know how much their services cost. They know what they charge, but that number has almost nothing to do with what individual services actually cost them as providers. This is about to change. With shockingly rising healthcare costs (17% of our gross national product, and rising at 4% per year) and frighteningly shrinking coffers with which to pay for it, there is a growing movement to move from fee-for-service payment models to alternative value-based payments. As we move towards these new cost-reducing models, what will be the impact on infection control?
Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation machines, or ECMO, are making headlines these days. This treatment has become a last recourse for some COVID-19 patients whose lungs have been damaged by the virus. With the use of any indwelling device, such as ECMO, comes the elevated risk of infection. In today's post, we'll learn about why ECMO is used for serious COVID-19 cases as well as the impact these devices may have on hospital acquired infection rates.
Although COVID-19 is taking the most attention, Medicare continues to penalize hospitals with the highest patient safety incidents. In today's post we explore the whole issue of Medicare reimbursements, penalties, and safety programs.
Even as our nation struggles to achieve herd immunity from COVID-19, talks are beginning about the need for a booster vaccine shot. The possible need for an additional dose to strengthen immunity was always a consideration, but now that millions of individuals have been inoculated over the span of many months, the data tells a more complete story. In today's post, we'll go over 5 things you need to know about this discussion so that you can know if or when to get your booster shot.
The Serenity Prayer is a well-known piece of advice about how to approach life's challenges. In it, the speaker asks for serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that can, and wisdom to know the difference. When it comes to infection control, the same sentiment could apply to risk factors. There are some risks that cannot be changed, health challenges that we just have to accept and work around. But there are those we can change, and these are modifiable risk factors. The wisdom to know the difference? We'll try to tackle that topic in today's post.