Many adverse events can be prevented, providing what a patient safety expert calls "humongous opportunities for improvement."
By Kevin B. O'Reilly, amednews staff. Posted April 18, 2011.
"One-third of hospital patients experience adverse events and about 7% are harmed permanently or die as a result, according to a study that detected patient safety problems at a far higher rate than other methods.
The study, in April's Health Affairs, echoes two reports issued in November 2010 that showed rates of adverse events hovering near 25% among hospitalized Medicare patients nationwide and at 10 North Carolina hospitals.
The findings draw attention to the safety troubles that have lingered in U.S. hospitals in the 12 years since the Institute of Medicine's headline-grabbing report "To Err is Human." The study cited research estimating that up to 98,000 patients die each year due to preventable medical errors.
"This is one of the best studies that now gives us a sense of how much harm is happening to patients in American hospitals," said Robert Wachter, MD, chief of the medical service at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. "There is a tremendous amount of harm befalling patients who are admitted to hospitals and humongous opportunities for improvement."
To judge from a survey released March 31, patients are scared of medical mishaps. Nearly 60% of adults polled by the Consumer Reports National Research Center believe medical errors are common in hospitals, and nearly half said serious harm is common. Nearly 80% of patients said they feared contracting an infection in a hospital, 71% were worried about medication errors and 65% were scared of surgical mistakes. . . " Read More