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Evidence-based fall prevention program reduced both harm and costs

Written by | 30 Jan 2023 | Care of the Elderly

Despite the large number of patient falls at hospitals, there are few large-scale studies to quantify the cost savings of intervention programs. The Fall TIPS (Tailoring Interventions for Patient Safety) Program is an evidence-based fall prevention effort implemented in 33 medical and surgical units across 8 hospitals. Investigators at the Brigham used electronic health record data from a large cohort of 900,635 patients to determine the average total cost of a fall. Using 7,858 non-injurious falls and 2,317 injurious ones they calculated that a fall costs $62,521 (with $35,365 in direct costs) and that injury was not a significant predictor of increased costs. Given that falls are expensive in terms of both human suffering and healthcare costs, the authors then conducted an economic analysis of Fall TIPS. The program was implemented for all adults hospitalized from 2013 to 2019 in healthcare systems in New York and Boston. They found that the intervention program was associated with $22 million in savings at eight study sites across the five-year study period.

“Through a series of clinical trials, the Fall TIPS program has demonstrated reductions in falls and fall-related injuries, and this study indicates that the Fall TIPS program is also cost effective,” said corresponding author Patricia C. Dykes, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, from the Brigham’s Center for Patient Safety, Research, and Practice in the Department of General Internal Medicine. “Our findings suggest that policies which incentivize organizations to implement evidence-based strategies which reduce the incidence of all falls may be effective in reducing both harm and costs.”

Read more in JAMA Health Forum.

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