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Wednesday, 4th April 2007

Hospital Errors Rise to Three Percent: HealthGrades Patient-Safety Study

Hospital Errors Rise to Three Percent: HealthGrades Patient-Safety Study (PDF; 32 KB)
Source: HealthGrades

Patient safety incidents at the nation’s hospitals rose to three percent over the years 2003 to 2005, but the nation's top-performing hospitals had a 40 percent lower rate of medical errors when compared with the poorest-performing hospitals, according to the largest annual study of patient-safety issued today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company.

The HealthGrades study of 40.56 million Medicare hospitalization records over the years 2003 to 2005 also found:

  • Patient-safety incidents continue to rise in American hospitals, with 1.16 million preventable patient-safety incidents occurring over the three years studied among Medicare patients in the nation's hospitals, an incidence rate of 2.86 percent.
    • 247,662 deaths were potentially preventable over the three years, and Medicare patients who had one or more patient-safety incidents had a one-in-four chance of dying.
    • The excess cost to hospitals was $8.6 billion over three years, with some of the most common incidents proving to be the most costly.
    • Ten of the 16 patient-safety incidents tracked worsened from 2003 to 2005, by an average of almost 12 percent, while seven incidents improved, on average, by six percent. Patient-safety incidents with the greatest increase in incident rates were post operative sepsis (34.28 percent), post-operative respiratory failure (18.70 percent) and selected infections due to medical care (12.23 percent).
    • Patient-safety incidents with the highest incidence rates were decubitus ulcer, failure to rescue and post-operative respiratory failure.

+ Full Report (PDF; 542 KB)


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