Savings estimated at $6 million per year

Summary

After implementing a long-term risk and patient safety education program which was broadly adopted by providers, nurses, and clinical leadership, this not-for-profit children’s hospital achieved a dramatic, sustained reduction in claims that past education approaches had failed to produce.

Results

  • 99% reduction in average severity of claims
  • 90%+ participation
  • 85% of participants reported changes in practice

Overview

Consistently named among the best in the nation in the annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings, this New England-–based, not-for-profit children’s hospital serves as the primary teaching hospital for a large, New England–based university’s medical school. The hospital has over 2,000 employees with a medical staff of over 1,000, practicing in more than 30 specialties.

Challenge

Despite the hospital’s high rankings and unwavering commitment to quality care, malpractice claims—along with millions of dollars in settlements each year—had become a seemingly unavoidable part of doing business in today’s healthcare climate, just as it is with many hospitals across the country. They had used a number of different education approaches over the years, and while it was felt that they had value, none were able to substantially “move the needle” in terms of measurable results. A new approach was needed.

[Med-IQ] puts the physicians back firmly where they should be, which is working as a caregiver and not a risk manager.

President and CEO

Solution

The hospital was referred to Med-IQ by a large, New England–based university—also a Med-IQ client. They learned of the high-impact education program that Med-IQ was providing to the residents and saw the great results they were able to achieve. Med-IQ was commissioned by the children’s hospital to design a multimodality program that included a variety of live and online sessions. Key objectives of the program were to:

  • Establish a long-term risk and patient safety education program for providers, nurses, and clinical leadership
  • Reduce the frequency and severity of adverse events and malpractice claims
  • Provide CME-approved content
  • Optimize patient satisfaction

Med-IQ began by forming a risk management committee, which would identify the hospital’s priorities and oversee the implementation, execution, and measurement of all aspects of the program.

We haven’t had a suit or claim since 2011….We are saving about $6 million a year.

Director, Risk Management

Results

The program was embraced by the hospital’s entire healthcare delivery staff, with more than 90% participation. Of those, more than 85% reported that they have changed their practice as a result of the program.

And indeed, they have—this practice change translated to actual results that were visible within the first year and that were sustained over the 7 years that followed.

“We have seen a dramatic reduction in claims, due in large measure to the work done by this program,” commented the hospital’s president and CEO. Specifically, based on the average number of claims per year, they experienced a 76% reduction in claim frequency since the program was implemented.

The hospital’s director of risk management added, “In fact, we haven’t had a suit or claim since 2011.”

In addition, the hospital experienced a remarkable 99% reduction in the average severity of their claims since the program’s onset. “We are saving about $6 million a year,” the director added.

Total Valuation of Claims/Suits

CCMC Total Valuation of Claims/Suits Chart

Results measurement is a hallmark of Med-IQ engagements and has been a key factor in the program’s success. “Physicians are very data-driven people, so when they were shown data that could help them improve their exposure, and also improve patient safety, they quickly accepted the program and got on board with it,” the hospital’s president said.

“The program really changed our culture,” the risk management director added. “We are a culture of safety and a culture of risk awareness, and all of the educational efforts have made us more aware. And this is a program that goes well beyond the physicians—we have had over 1,200 people go through the program, including allied health professionals and administrators.”

“This program protects the physicians,” the president noted. “It protects them and helps them not end up in court, but it also is in the best interests of their patients and families. It puts the physicians back firmly where they should be, which is working as a caregiver and not a risk manager.”