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Am Health Drug Benefits. 2017 Jul;10(5):262-270.

Budget Impact of a Comprehensive Nutrition-Focused Quality Improvement Program for Malnourished Hospitalized Patients.

Author information

Senior Manager, Health Economics Outcomes Research, Abbott Nutrition, Chicago, IL.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Applied Value Analysis, Northampton, MA.
Director, Global Scientific Affairs, Abbott Nutrition, Columbus, OH.
General Manager, AHEAD GmbH-Agency for Health Economic Assessment & Dissemination, Loerrach, Germany.
Tele-Intensivist, eICU, Advocate Health Care, Downers Grove, IL.
President, Convergence CT, North America, Chicago, IL.



Nutrition interventions can alleviate the burden of malnutrition by improving patient outcomes; however, evidence on the economic impact of medical nutrition intervention remains limited. A previously published nutrition-focused quality improvement program targeting malnourished hospitalized patients showed that screening patients with a validated screening tool at admission, rapidly administering oral nutritional supplements, and educating patients on supplement adherence result in significant reductions in 30-day unplanned readmissions and hospital length of stay.


To assess the potential cost-savings associated with decreased 30-day readmissions and hospital length of stay in malnourished inpatients through a nutrition-focused quality improvement program using a web-based budget impact model, and to demonstrate the clinical and fiscal value of the intervention.


The reduction in readmission rate and length of stay for 1269 patients enrolled in the quality improvement program (between October 13, 2014, and April 2, 2015) were compared with the pre-quality improvement program baseline and validation cohorts (4611 patients vs 1319 patients, respectively) to calculate potential cost-savings as well as to inform the design of the budget impact model. Readmission rate and length-of-stay reductions were calculated by determining the change from baseline to post-quality improvement program as well as the difference between the validation cohort and the post-quality improvement program, respectively.


As a result of improved health outcomes for the treated patients, the nutrition-focused quality improvement program led to a reduction in 30-day hospital readmissions and length of stay. The avoided hospital readmissions and reduced number of days in the hospital for the patients in the quality improvement program resulted in cost-savings of $1,902,933 versus the pre-quality improvement program baseline cohort, and $4,896,758 versus the pre-quality improvement program in the validation cohort. When these costs were assessed across the entire patient population enrolled in the quality improvement program, per-patient net savings of $1499 when using the baseline cohort as the comparator and savings per patient treated of $3858 when using the validated cohort as the comparator were achieved.


The nutrition-focused quality improvement program reduced the per-patient healthcare costs by avoiding 30-day readmissions and through reduced length of hospital stay. These clinical and economic outcomes provide a rationale for merging patient care and financial modeling to advance the delivery of value-based medicine in a malnourished hospitalized population. The use of a novel web-based budget impact model supports the integration of comparative effectiveness analytics and healthcare resource management in the hospital setting to provide optimal quality of care at a reduced overall cost.


budget impact model; cost-savings; hospital length of stay; hospital readmissions; hospital setting; malnourished inpatients; nutrition-focused interventions; quality improvement program; value-based medicine


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