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A Better Way to Prevent Inpatient Falls

  • JVION Health

No one likes falling down. For hospital patients, it can be life threatening and represents one of the most prevalent preventable harm conditions. Falls exacerbate patient pain and suffering while extending hospital stays. CMS regulations in place since 2008 have amplified the cost of falls for hospitals, with no reimbursements for treatment of traumas and other fall-related conditions acquired after admission.  Facilities risk further CMS financial penalties for not providing safe environments for patients and residents. The Joint Commission calculates the cost of hospital falls at $14,000 per incident.

For an event hospitals focus hard to prevent, falls remain troublingly pervasive:

  • Claims related to falls—fractures, dislocation, intracranial and crushing injuries, and burns—accounted for most healthcare-acquired injuries
  • The Joint Commission says as many as 15 percent of inpatients experience at least one fall, with 30 percent of those resulting in serious injury
  • 43 percent of falls occur at or near the patient’s bed, and 29 percent were from a standing position
  • 58 percent of falls are elderly patients between the ages of 70 and 99
  • 74 percent of falls were not observed by clinicians, complicating assessment and treatment
  • 19 percent of falls occurred during ambulation, 11 percent when getting out of bed, 9 percent while sitting down or standing up, and 4.4 percent while using the bedside commode or toilet

Many Hospital Conditions Contribute to Fall Frequency

The hospital setting, patient conditions, and treatments can all make falls more likely:

  • Environmental conditions such as slippery or uneven surfaces, tripping hazards, poor lighting, elevated noise, limited access to assistive equipment, and bed or equipment height hazards
  • Orthostatic hypotension (a sudden drop in blood pressure when moving upright) caused by medication, dehydration or immobility
  • Side effects of illness or medication that may include weakness, decreased sensation, impaired vision, or compromised safety awareness
  • Staffing ratios and care provider availability
  • Inadequate risk assessment tools, measures and programs
  • Poor handoffs and communication caused by fractured care coordination workflows

The clinical harm from falls is clear, as well as the financial burden:

  • In 2013, the gross expenditure from falls in the U.S was more than $34 billion dollars
  • The CDC estimates that costs related to falls could increase to $67.7 billion by 2020
  • The average estimated DRG payment for injuries sustained by a patient falling from bed is $25,000
  • Patients injured in a fall remain in the hospital six to 12 days longer
  • About 11,000 of the roughly 1 million annual inpatient falls are fatal

Uplifting Results—The Patient and Healthcare Impact of the Cognitive Clinical Success Machine

Jvion has applied the Falls Vector of the AI-based Cognitive Clinical Success Machine and changed the entire dynamic for falls at provider facilities including:

  • A 75 percent reduction in resources required to prevent fall risk, based on comparison of Jvion Falls Vector versus performance on Morse Falls Scale
  • A projected greater than a 20 percent reduction in the incidence of falls

Total impact: Based on the Jvion Falls Vector performance data, the Jvion cognitive machine can prevent 2.3 of the incidence of all falls. With 37.1 million admissions each year in the United States, that would avoid approximately 851,0000 falls annually—eliminating $11.9 trillion in total potential costs.