Despite continuing improvement efforts, patient-safety events remain commonplace at U.S. hospitals, according to an annual study from HealthGrades, a Golden, Colo.-based healthcare ratings organization. During 2006, 2007 and 2008, nearly 1 million patient-safety incidents occurred among Medicare patients, affecting more than 900,000 beneficiaries and costing almost $8.9 billion. In addition, more than 99,000 patients died as a result of a patient-safety event, the study said.
Patient-safety incidents still commonplace, study finds
Those figures remain essentially unchanged from last year's study, said Samantha Collier, HealthGrades' executive vice president and chief medical officer.
There were improvements in the incidences of several of the 15 types of patient-safety events examined in the study including complications from anesthesia and post-operative hemorrhage. However, the incidences of the eight most common safety events, including decubitus ulcers, post-operative sepsis and deep-vein thrombosis, actually worsened, Collier said.
The study also found a significant gap between the best- and worst-performing hospitals. “Specifically, we found that patients who were treated at those top-five-percent hospitals experienced 43 percent fewer patient safety events,” Collier said. “The takeaway is that if we could get all of the hospitals we looked at to perform at the level of those top-performers, we could have prevented 218,572 patient-safety incidents and 22,590 deaths, saving Medicare $2 billion.”
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