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Hospital CEOs may have once cast a wary eye when a retail clinic opened in their backyard, but that paradigm has shifted as health systems are increasingly opening their own retail clinics or affiliating with retail clinic operators.
Alarm fatigue has moved to the forefront of hazards on the hospital floor. Nursing staff gets bombarded by hundreds or thousands of beeps, rings, whistles and pings emanating from bedside devices in a shift, and it can be difficult for them to distinguish the critical from the routine. An analysis of hospital alarms at Johns Hopkins Hospital counted a total of 59,000 alarms over a 12-day observation period, an average of 350 alarms per patient per day.1
In 1989, I agreed for the first time to serve as an expert witness in a case brought by the family of a terminally ill pregnant patient who had a cesarean section performed against her will in a prominent university teaching hospital. Since then, whether retained as a plaintiff or defense expert, I have been surprised and disturbed by the number and types of cases in which hospitals and other health care facilities have been sued.
This article addresses the financial impact of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It focuses on an understanding of both the obvious and not so apparent costs incurred by a clinic as well as suggests methods of cost containment and reduction.