A new estimate of patient harm
People were horrified when the Institute of Medicine released a report estimating that 98,000 people died each year due to harm cause by healthcare. But the real truth may be much worse. That number was based on data from 1984, and a new study in the September issue of the Journal of Patient Safety1 used new data to determine a more accurate number: 400,000 people likely die prematurely in this country every year because of harm caused by healthcare, and serious harm is likely 10 to 20 times more common than lethal harm.
The research was based on four studies deemed appropriate to determine preventable adverse events and had a lower limit estimate of 210,000 deaths associated with healthcare mistakes. The authors note that in the end, the number, whether 98,000 or 400,000 or something in between doesn’t matter. It demands attention.
The full study can be seen at http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx.
- James JT. A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. J Patient Saf. 2013 Sep;9(3):122-8.
Patient safety summit in January
The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and the Patient Safety Movement Foundation are sponsoring a summit in January whose focus is to approach zero preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals by 2020.
The Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, scheduled Jan. 11-13, 2014, is for industry leaders and will focus on three areas that continue to be an issue for healthcare as a whole in this country:
- improving handoff communications;
- reducing hospital-acquired conditions;
- creating a culture of safety.
The summit’s new focus areas are in addition to those considered in the 2013 summit: failure to rescue, medication errors, blood transfusion overuse, intravascular catheter-related infections, sub-optimal neonatal oxygen targeting, and failure to detect critical congenital heart disease.