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Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:00 AM

HC411R - Hospitalizations

Debra: This is Healthcare 411. 

Rand:  Experts say more than 4 million hospitalizations a year could be avoided and billions of dollars could be saved.

Debra:  Find out hownext.


Narrator: You’ve just seen your doctor and he’s ordered blood work, x-rays and other tests but what does it all mean?  Well, you should ask.  The single most important thing you can do for your health is to ask questions.  Be an informed and active member of your health care team.   Remember, your health begins with you.  To learn the types of questions to ask, get the brochure Be Prepared for Medical Appointments at ahrq.gov/consumer.

A message from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

[End PSA]

Debra:  This is Healthcare 411. 

Rand: It takes more than an apple a day.  A new report issued by AHRQ finds Americans may avoid nearly 4 and a half million hospitalizations per year if they get better primary care, better access to treatment and adopt healthier lifestyles. 

Debra:  And these changes could be worth billions. AHRQ estimates that hospitals spent about $29 billion dollars in 2004 on care for a dozen potentially preventable conditions.  For instance, bacterial pneumonia, which usually can be prevented with immunization or controlled with antibiotics, cost $7 billion dollars in hospital care.  And issues related to diabetes cost nearly $5 billion dollars. 

Rand:  Several potentially preventable conditions are also sending many children to the hospital.  For example, in 2004, asthma-related hospitalizations of children cost $326 million dollars.

Debra:  The report finds the health care industry could save billions of dollars by avoiding the need to hospitalize patients for health problems that, in most cases, can be prevented or kept stable by high-quality care at physicians’ offices. 

Rand:  To learn more about this and dozens of other health topics, go to www.healthcare411.org.  For Debra James, I’m Rand Gardner.  Healthcare 411 is produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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