$2m crusade targets treatment mistakes
MEDIBANK Private is spending $2 million on measures to reduce medication errors and prevent adverse events in almost 60 private hospitals.
The projects were developed to prevent falls, reduce hospital-acquired infections and address adverse events in an attempt to improve patient care — and cut the cost of treating patients requiring ongoing care because something went wrong while they were in hospital.
‘‘ The amount of money we spend on these incentives is hopefully only a small portion of costs that we save,’’ Medibank Private managing director George Savvides. ‘‘ One figure that has been around suggests that about $2 billion is wasted on adverse events from errors, infection and readmissions. These projects will ensure better health outcomes for all patients.’’
Private hospitals are invited to develop programs they believe will improve patient safety and apply to Medibank Private for funding to trial them.
Medibank Private is currently reviewing results of the first initiatives trialled in 35 hospitals last year.
‘‘ We see this as a long-term initiative that will benefit the hospital operator and patients,’’ Savvides said.
The incentive scheme, now in its second year, attracted a 50 per cent increase in applications from last year, with 120 hospitals applying.
Last year St Vincent and Mercy Private Hospital in Victoria was granted $30,000 to run a program aimed at reducing adverse medication errors.
Chief executive Martin Day says the program provided hospital staff with evidence of what measure could reduce medication errors and limit adverse reactions.
‘‘ The medication safety project looked at ways to identify patients who were at risk of exposure to a medication error. That might be patients with some form of dementia, or patients who took a large number of medications for various conditions.’’
Day says a series of measures was trialled, including the use of electronic prescribing software and barcoding patients to make sure they were give the correct medication.
‘‘ The medication safety program has been complemented and implemented and we have seen improvements. Patients were given a wrist band with a barcode that could be swiped to link them to their medication charts, to match them to their medication.
‘‘ We also looked at electronic prescribing