Preliminary estimates for 2015 show a 21 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) since 2010. A cumulative total of 3.1 million fewer HACs were experienced by hospital patients over the 5 years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015) relative to the number of HACs that would have occurred if rates had remained steady at the 2010 level. The preliminary 2015 rate is 115 HACs per 1,000 discharges, down from 2013 and 2014, which had held at 121 HACs per 1,000 discharges. We estimate that nearly 125,000 fewer patients died in the hospital as a result of HACs and that approximately $28 billion in health care costs were saved from 2010 to 2015 due to the reductions in HACs.
Although the precise causes of the decline in patient harm are not fully understood, the increase in safety has occurred during a period of concerted attention by hospitals throughout the country to reduce adverse events. This effort has been spurred in part by Medicare payment incentives and catalyzed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Partnership for Patients (PfP) initiative, which was started in 2011.