If you were following our coverage of the Health Forum-AHA Leadership Summit earlier this week, then you know that there’s a growing chorus putting pressure on hospital leaders to transform the delivery system, and to do so with a sense of urgency. As AHA Board Chair Jim Hinton points out in this video, regulators and purchasers want more value.

Now, that’s not necessarily anything new for our readers. They’ve been living in this world for the past few years. But if the experts speaking at the Summit, and executives I talked with during breaks are right, then the call to hit the Triple Aim is only going to get more intense.

One of the more encouraging signs that hospitals and health systems are moving in that direction is the work being done by Hospital Engagement Networks. The program, funded by a large HHS grant, encourages hospitals to share best practices and work toward significantly reducing patient harm. The program is not without challenges, including getting hospitals to submit data and, as evidenced by a recent congressional hearing, there’s still plenty of concern about pace of change when it comes to patient safety. However, recent HEN data suggest that the value proposition is gaining traction.

The HRET HEN, the largest network in the program, last week issued new data on its 28-month endeavor. In total, the hospitals prevented 143,000 harms and saved the health care system $1.3 million. How? By avoiding 19,000 early-elective deliveries, 110,000 readmissions and 8,500 healthcare-acquired infections, among other things.

HRET isn’t alone. Joint Commission Resources last month announced that its HEN saw aggregate CLABSI rates drop 20.89 percent and pressure ulcers plummet by 86.22 percent. In April, Dignity Health revealed that its hospitals reduced CAUTIs by 45 percent and surgical-site infections by 35 percent.

There is still a long way to go before hospitals are fail-safe organizations, but improvements like those seen under the HEN project seem to offer hope that the ship is pointed in the right direction.
Comment below or directly to me via emailTwitter or Google+.