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Medicare Beneficiary Experiences Patient Safety Event Every 1.7 minutes

Outline: Patients at top-performing hospitals 43 percent less likely to experience a medical error.

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The 2009 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients were identified in a report issued today by the leading independent healthcare ratings organization. These hospitals represent an elite group that save lives, save money and prevent errors at a higher rate than other U.S. hospitals.

Patients at top-performing hospitals 43 percent less likely to experience a medical error.

The 2009 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients were identified in a report issued today by the leading independent healthcare ratings organization. These hospitals represent an elite group that save lives, save money and prevent errors at a higher rate than other U.S. hospitals.

If all hospitals performed at the level of Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals, approximately 211,697 patient safety events and 22,771 Medicare deaths could have been avoided while saving the U.S. approximately $2.0 billion from 2005 through 2007. Between 2005 and 2007, 913,215 total patient safety events were recorded among Medicare beneficiaries, which represents 2.3 percent of the nearly 38 million Medicare hospitalizations. This equates to one reported patient safety event every 1.7 minutes.

For the sixth consecutive year, HealthGrades has analyzed patient safety among Medicare patients in all of the nearly 5,000 U.S. non-federal hospitals based on 15 indicators of patient safety developed by the federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

This year, 242 hospitals, which represent the top five percent of all hospitals in the U.S., were recognized with a HealthGrades 2009 Patient Safety Excellence Award. HealthGrades developed this award to give patients more information about choosing a hospital.

"Patient safety incidents are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. The sad fact is that many, if not most, of these errors are preventable. Patients shouldn't die or experience unnecessary harm as a result of medical errors in hospitals," said Rick May, MD, senior physician consultant at HealthGrades and co-author of the study. "The good news is that there are hospitals that are doing an amazing job when it comes to patient safety and we commend them. Patients need to know that they have a substantially lower risk of experiencing a medical error and therefore a lower risk of death or complications when they are admitted to one of these exceptional top-performing hospitals."

Study highlights:

Large Safety Gaps Identified Between Top and Bottom Performing Hospitals

Patients treated at top-performing hospitals had, on average, a 43% lower chance of experiencing one or more medical errors compared to the poorest-performing hospitals.

Patient safety events are common at U.S. hospitals

Between 2005 and 2007 there were 913,215 total patient safety events among Medicare beneficiaries.

Common Patient Safety Events are Very Costly

Between 2005 and 2007 these patient safety events were associated with over $6.9 billion of wasted healthcare cost.

Less Improvement Seen Among Most Common Events

Eight patient safety indicators showed improvement while seven indicators worsened in 2007 compared to 2005. Some of the most common and most serious indicators worsened, including decubitus ulcer (bed sores), sepsis, respiratory failure, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs), and pulmonary embolism (potentially fatal blood clots forming in the lungs).

Approximately One-in-Ten Medicare Patients with Patient Safety Events Died

Between 2005 and 2007 there were 97,755 actual in-hospital deaths that occurred among patients who experienced one or more of the 15 patient safety events.

HealthGrades' individual hospital ratings can be viewed for free at HealthGrades.com.

Methodology

The sixth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study applies methodology developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to identify the incident rates of 15 patient safety indicators among Medicare patients at virtually all of the nation's nearly 5,000 non-federal hospitals. Additionally, HealthGrades applied its methodology using 12 patient safety indicators to identify the best-performing hospitals, or HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award Hospitals, which represent the top five percent of all U.S. hospitals.

The following are the patient safety indicators studied:

Complications of anesthesia

Death in low mortality Diagnostic Related Groupings (DRGs)

Decubitus ulcer (bed sores)

Death among surgical inpatients with serious treatable complications

Iatrogenic pneumothorax

Selected infections due to medical care

Post-operative hip fracture

Post-operative hemorrhage or hematoma

Post-operative physiologic and metabolic derangements

Post-operative respiratory failure

Post-operative pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis

Post-operative sepsis

Post-operative abdominal wound dehiscence

Accidental puncture or laceration

Transfusion reaction

Reference: Health Grades, Inc. (Nasdaq: HGRD - News) is the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, providing quality ratings, profiles and cost information on the nation's hospitals, physicians, nursing homes and prescription drugs. Millions of patients and many of the nation's largest employers, health plans and hospitals rely on HealthGrades' quality ratings, advisory services and decision-support resources. The HealthGrades Network of Web sites, including HealthGrades.com and WrongDiagnosis.com, is a top-ten health property according to ComScore and is the Internet's leading destination for patients choosing providers. More information on the company can be found at www.healthgrades.com.


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Cite: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English. Author: HealthGrades. Electronic Publication Date: 2009/04/07. Last Revised Date: 2009/04/07. Reference Title: "Medicare Beneficiary Experiences Patient Safety Event Every 1.7 minutes", Source: Medicare Beneficiary Experiences Patient Safety Event Every 1.7 minutes. Abstract: Patients at top-performing hospitals 43 percent less likely to experience a medical error. Retrieved 2019-11-14, from https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/hospital-errors.php - Reference Category Number: DW#42-1392.
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