How do you put an economic value on a human life? Why would you ever want to? As difficult as this quantification may be, it is a necessary practice in healthcare when evaluating the efficacy of an intervention, the appropriation of resources, as well as the framing of options for both the individual and a population. Two measures attempt to accomplish this valuation: Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). In the next series of posts, we will explore both these measures, and ultimately discuss how they are used in the field of infection control and prevention.
How Can a Healthcare Investment Increase Market Share AND Reduce Cost of Care? Focus on Infection Prevention.
Large-scale healthcare projects, from new projects to renovations, face a challenging future. After the tedious process of securing permits and getting approved plans and even issuing press releases, many of these ambitious projects stall due to financial pressures. Increasingly, healthcare systems may hit the pause button as they take a closer look at cost-benefits, with emphases on expanding market share and reducing cost of care. In today's post, we will look at how a healthcare project can help achieve both goals by focusing on proven infection prevention infrastructure.
Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, allows us to quickly identify a pathogen from a small sample. This rapid identification is a helpful change from traditional culturing methods, which can take several days. In today's post, we will explore how faster identification leads to better patient outcomes.
We have often discussed the different terms used to describe products that clean the patient environment in this blog. Using the correct terms, and understanding their full definitions, is a critical first step in both writing and learning about the field of infection control and prevention. One term that comes up often as we talk to folks not directly involved in the field is the broad term "antimicrobial." In today's post, we will look at how this broad term covers a huge variety of products and efficacy against pathogens, and we will provide some examples to put this word in context.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a Prospective Payment System (PPS) to provide incentives for healthcare providers to be effective and efficient. Much like health maintenance organizations (HMOs), the PPS provides a flat fee for each service, encouraging providers to stay within efficient financial limits. (In contrast, the older fee-for-service model incentivized over-utilization of services.) Each year, CMS releases changes to the PPS, in their efforts to remain flexible to changing medical needs and feedback from patients and providers. Earlier this month, CMS released the final inpatient rule (all 2,087 pages), including a few important changes.
Measuring the cost-effectiveness of an infection prevention intervention requires careful translation of complex issues into dollar values: The problems, the possible solutions, the methods of evaluation, and the desired outcomes. The result is a calculation that measures whether or not the costs associated with an intervention are outweighed by the benefits gained by that intervention. Today we will delve into the big ideas behind that final calculation.
When considering an infection prevention intervention, how should the costs be calculated? The first question should be what costs should be calculated? With the myriad of direct, indirect, and intangible costs related to HAIs, where is a facility to start? There are several types of costs to be taken into consideration, and each type will come from different sources. In this post, we will explore how a facility may collect cost data when evaluating a potential new infection intervention.
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.