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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Blue Cross partnership with U-M, Michigan hospitals aims to clear risk of blood clots in patients

Colloquially speaking, venous thromboembolism may not be much of a conversation starter. But the medical condition more commonly known as the blood clot plays a key role in driving up medical costs and preventable deaths in the U.S.

That’s why the Blues are partnering with the University of Michigan Medical Center and 16 other hospitals to reduce the risk of blood clots in hospitalized patients. It’s the latest of our ongoing efforts to improve patient care across the state.

Hospitalized patients have a higher risk of developing blood clots due to surgery, prolonged periods of immobility, use of certain medications and the presence of other conditions like obesity or congestive heart failure. Patients who develop VTE while hospitalized tend to experience longer hospital stays, poorer clinical outcomes and various ongoing complications.

In fact, blood clots constitute the most common form of preventable hospital death, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The condition affects an estimated 900,000 Americans each year, with more than half acquiring VTE while in the hospital or within 30 days after leaving. About 300,000 die from it.

The new partnership, which launches Oct. 21, will focus on VTE in patients hospitalized for medical – not surgical – reasons. It could save as much as $5 million in five years.

This is the eighth collaborative quality initiative that the Blues sponsor for Michigan hospitals.

These partnerships encourage competing hospitals to collaborate, share and analyze data on common but costly procedures such as heart surgery and bariatric surgery in an effort to improve patient safety and lower costs.

The programs have saved millions of dollars in reduced complications, infections and mortality. They have improved the quality of health care delivery for all Michigan residents.

For more information, check out our 2010 Partners in Health Care Report.

Tags: blood clot, health care quality, cost of care, patient safety, collaborative

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