For the first time in three years, hospital leaders say improving safety is a higher strategic priority than improving efficiency and reducing costs
MINNEAPOLIS, April 28, 2021 — VigiLanz, a clinical surveillance company, today released findings from their third annual hospital patient safety survey. The independent survey of 100 hospital and health system leaders, conducted in March 2021 by Sage Growth Partners, reveals significant year-over-year changes in how hospital leaders are prioritizing and approaching patient and staff safety.
For the first time in three years, hospital leaders said patient safety is a higher strategic priority than improving efficiency and reducing costs. Hospital leaders also said they are placing more emphasis on decreasing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and improving staff safety in 2021 than in years prior.
The full results are included in VigiLanz’s new Hospital Patient Safety Report 2021. Key findings include:
For the first time since 2019, improving patient safety is a higher strategic priority among hospital leaders than increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
- Hospital leaders were more likely to select improving patient safety as a top strategic priority than increasing efficiency and reducing costs (57% said improving safety was in their top three strategic priorities, while only 50% said improving efficiency and reducing costs was). Hospital leaders were most likely to select delivering high quality care as one of their top three strategic priorities (77%).
- The percentage of hospitals leaders who selected improving patient safety as a top three strategic priority has steadily increased over the past three years (40% in 2019, 50% in 2020, and 57% in 2021).
- The percentage of hospital leaders who selected increasing efficiency and reducing costs has steadily decreased over the past three years (60% in 2019, 53% in 2020, and 50% in 2021).
Note: Other strategic priorities survey respondents could select included driving patient engagement (39%), focusing on ethics and compliance (5%), focusing on revenue improvement (16%), gaining market share (19%), investing in technologies (3%), managing population health (10%), and participating in alternative payment models (2%).
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are hospitals’ top safety challenge; however, hospital leaders are growing more confident in their infection prevention capabilities.
- Hospital leaders were most likely to select HAIs as their top safety challenge (30%), followed by medication errors (19%), and falls (16%).
- Significantly more hospital leaders said they are extremely confident that their hospital can respond to an infectious disease of viral outbreak as soon as a patient presents symptoms in 2021 than in 2020 (44% vs. 27%).
- Ninety-five percent said the pandemic has made infection prevention a higher hospital priority.
Protecting staff is a new top safety improvement priority for hospitals, and the pandemic is a key driver.
- Hospital leaders were most likely to select improving staff safety as their top safety improvement priority (39%), followed by reducing HAIs and HACs (23%), reducing falls and other accidents (15%), and reducing medication errors (10%).
- Ninety-one percent said the pandemic made improving staff safety a higher priority, and 41% said their hospital lacked adequate PPE during the pandemic.
The pandemic led to an increase in antibiotic use and medication errors within hospitals.
- Forty-nine percent of hospital leaders said the pandemic led to an increase antibiotic prescriptions.
- Twenty-one percent said the pandemic led to an increase in medication errors.
More hospital leaders are turning to clinical surveillance technologies to address safety challenges.
- Ninety-five percent of hospital leaders said clinical surveillance either probably or definitely improves patient safety.
- Most said clinical surveillance tools help identify potential infections and outbreaks (85%), safety events (85%), medication errors (70%), and antibiotic overuse (70%).
- Sixty-nine percent said they already use the technology or plan to implement it in the next two years.
“Hospitals are facing new and unexpected challenges, and this is transforming how hospital leaders think about safety and how they prioritize it,” said VigiLanz Chairman and CEO David Goldsteen, MD. “For the first time in three years, hospital leaders are saying that improving patient safety is a higher priority than increasing efficiency and reducing costs. The pandemic revealed safety gaps and vulnerabilities, and the survey findings show that hospitals are moving quickly to address these problems with new technologies and initiatives that will have a long-lasting, positive impact.”
VigiLanz was recently recognized as Best in KLAS for Infection Control and Monitoring and Pharmacy Surveillance in the “2021 Best in KLAS: Software and Services” report. Over the past four years, VigiLanz has earned 10 KLAS awards for its solutions.
VigiLanz commissioned Sage Growth Partners, a healthcare consultancy, to conduct the independent survey of 100 hospital and health system leaders in March 2021. Respondents included pharmacy executives (28%), infection prevention executives (22%), chief executive officers (13%), chief medical officers (12%), chief nursing officers (9%), and quality executives (7%). For more demographics and methodology, download the full report.
Founded in 2001, VigiLanz (www.vigilanzcorp.com) is a privately held, rapidly growing provider of SaaS-based clinical surveillance solutions. The firm is focused on aggregating disparate EMR transactional workflow and documentation data across health systems to identify real-time clinical issues that avoid or minimize harm, optimize clinical outcomes and support preventive care. VigiLanz supports a large and growing community of hospital CMOs, CMIOs, CIOs, quality teams, infectious disease and control specialists, pharmacists, and other clinicians dedicated to real-time inpatient and outpatient care.