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Knoxville Hospital & Clinics Has Decreased Patient Falls, Med Errors & Readmissions By 2%

Posted: Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 6:00 am
Author: KNIA KRLS News - Karen Overgaard


Knoxville Hospital and Clinics Public Relations Director Katrina Nelson says the 127 hospitals participating in the Iowa-based Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) prevented potential harm to more than 4,300 patients in 2013 and reduced health care costs by more than $51 million, according to data released by the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC), which administers the network.

Among other improvements, participating hospitals reduced early elective baby deliveries (which can increase complications) by 90 percent; catheter associated urinary tract infections by 44 percent; adverse drug events by 28 percent; central line-associated blood stream infections in intensive care by 24 percent; surgical site infections by 24 percent; patient falls by 23 percent; and avoidable readmissions by 11 percent.

In addition to reducing costs, the Iowa HEN reduced the time that patients spent in the participating hospitals by 17,758 days. It’s estimated that at least 32 lives were saved because of the HEN.

Patient safety and ongoing quality improvement are top-of-mind priorities at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, one of the hospitals participating in the Iowa-based HEN. In recent years, KHC staff have taken great advances in improving care in the areas of patient falls, medication errors, and readmissions – decreasing the rate of each by two percent.

Committed to improving patient safety, KHC staff have turned their attention to patient falls. At the time of admission, patients are assessed using the standardized Morse Fall Risk Assessment. This provides the nursing staff guidance on safety precautions to utilize for that patient, including bed rails, bed alarms, etc. Every 12 hours, after sleeping, or pain medication is given, the patient is reassessed to continue protecting their safety.

To prevent and protect patients from possible medication errors, when a patient is admitted to KHC, a code is printed on each patient name band. This code is intended to help prevent errors and protect the patient from getting the wrong medication while they are a patient in the hospital. If a medication is scanned and it is not intended for that patient, a screen pops up alerting the nursing staff to the wrong medication.

Troubled by the increase of readmissions, a transition coach is utilized at KHC who helps make sure that patients being discharged to home have a follow up appointment within a week with their primary care provider, and weekly follow up phone calls are made to high risk patients (COPD, CHF, pneumonia, etc.) for six weeks after discharge. Follow up phone calls are also made within 72 hours of discharge to make sure the patient has the appropriate support at home. Staff also work closely with area nursing homes to address readmissions.

“Patient safety is one of our top priorities and we continually seek new ways to provide the safest environment for our patients,” said Kevin Kincaid, Chief Executive Officer. “By focusing on patient falls, medication errors, and readmissions, we are committed to ensuring the highest level of quality care and safety of our patients.”

Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, a Critical Access Hospital serving Marion County and the surrounding area, is dedicated to providing personal, progressive quality health care with compassion. For more information regarding this release and other happenings at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, call the Public Relations office at (641) 842-1418 or visit