HPCI News: Preventable Hospital Errors 3rd Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

To: Members and others

The New York Times recently published an important story on patient safety. Some highlights:

  • Preventable hospital errors are the 3rd leading cause of deaths in the U.S. --- about 440,000 per year.
    Also, 10 to 20 times that many people suffer nonlethal but serious harm as a result of hospital errors.
  • Most of us decide which hospital to go to with zero data about hospital safety.
  • When patients can judge hospitals on their safety record, hospitals will become safer. Just like publishing health care prices will drive them down, publishing safety information will drive hospital safety up.
  • Many organizations publishing information on hospital safety, but are measuring different things (Hospital Compare, Consumer Reports, The Leapfrog Group and U.S. News' Best Hospitals rankings).
  • It's not so much any longer a debate about whether - it's more about how. But so far, the answer to this question is "slowly".
  • Measurements need to be relevant to both health providers and consumers so they can be acted upon to create impact.

See the link below for the full article.

To Make Hospitals Less Deadly, a Dose of Data

Paul M. Pietzsch, MPH
HPCI - IHBA Office
4430 Ashley Park Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
(515) 778-6300

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