SOURCE: Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare

Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare

August 12, 2015 09:30 ET

New Targeted Solutions Tool® Aims to Prevent Inpatient Falls

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL--(Marketwired - Aug 12, 2015) - The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare has released its Targeted Solutions Tool® (TST®) for preventing hospital inpatient falls and falls with injury. The Preventing Falls TST is an online resource that provides a step-by-step process to assist hospitals in measuring fall and fall with injury rates, identifying and measuring barriers to fall prevention, and implementing the Center's proven solutions for falls prevention that are customized to address specific barriers.

Using the solutions included in the TST, a typical 200-bed hospital could potentially reduce the number of patients injured from a fall from 117 to 45 and avoid approximately $1 million in costs annually through fall prevention efforts.

"Hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals every year and many of these falls result in moderate to severe injuries that can prolong hospital stays and require the patient to undergo additional treatment. These outcomes for patients are unacceptable," says Erin DuPree, MD, FACOG, vice president and chief medical officer, Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. "We are encouraging hospitals to use the TST to improve patient safety and reduce patient falls."

The Center addressed the issue of patient falls because it is a persistent issue in health care and falls have been identified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as an event that is preventable and should never occur. CMS has also identified "falls and trauma" on its list of Hospital Acquired Conditions for which reimbursement may be impacted, specifically for falls that result in fractures, dislocations and intracranial injuries. Serious injuries, on average, add 6.3 days to a patient's hospital stay and cost about $14,056.

The TST was developed with the initial assistance of seven collaborating hospitals. Following the original participating group, five additional health care organizations participated in a pilot to test the fall prevention methodology. These organizations validated the project's contributing factors, measurement tool and solutions for improving their falls and falls with injury rates.

Working with the Center, the original participating hospitals were able to reduce the rate of falls by 35 percent and falls with injury by 62 percent. Their efforts included creating awareness among staff, empowering patients to take an active role in their own safety, using a validated fall risk assessment tool, engaging patients and their families in the fall safety program, hourly rounding with scheduled restroom use for patients, and engaging all hospital staff and patients to ensure no patient walks without assistance. These examples are some of the 21 targeted solutions developed to address contributing factors around why patients fall. 

The Center used Robust Process Improvement® (RPI®) to identify the causes of patient falls and develop solutions to prevent them. RPI is a systematic, data-driven problem-solving methodology that incorporates tools and concepts from Lean, Six Sigma and change management.

The Preventing Falls TST is complimentary to Joint Commission-accredited organizations. They may access the TST through the Center's website or on their secure Joint Commission Connect extranet. TST modules also are available for improving hand hygiene, hand-off communications, and safe surgery.

The Center is grateful for the generous leadership and support of the American Hospital Association, BD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Cardinal Health, Ecolab, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson and Medline Industries, as well as the support of GOJO Industries, Inc; The ARAMARK Charitable Fund and Federation of American Hospitals.

For more information about the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, visit

About the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare
Created in 2008 as a nonprofit affiliate of The Joint Commission, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare aims to solve health care's most critical safety and quality problems. The Center's participants -- some of the nation's leading hospitals and health systems -- use a systematic approach to analyze specific breakdowns in care and discover their underlying causes to develop targeted solutions that solve these complex problems. In keeping with its objective to transform health care into a high reliability industry, The Joint Commission shares these proven, effective solutions with the nearly 21,000 health care organizations it accredits and certifies. Health care organizations have made significant advances in quality -- and even better results are now achievable. Health care organizations and The Joint Commission are working together to improve systems and processes of care. Learn more about the Center at

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