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Medical safety innovation gets a boost from systematic analysis
Date:7/8/2013

patient safety event. On average, patients who experienced an adverse event were older, white and male; patient safety events added an average of $35,000 to the cost, and 3 days to the length, of a hospital stay.

"The percentage of discharges that had a patient safety event is in the range of other studies we've seen in the U.S. and around the world," said Taylor. "While this figure may be a bit startling, it is not a cause for alarm, in that many of the events that we found are adverse events for which there are no known prevention strategies," as in the example of the unexpected allergic reaction.

For their analysis, Taylor and co-authors used standard International Classification of Disease (ICD-9-CM) diagnosis codes that indicate each patient's primary and secondary diagnoses and causes of injury in hospital discharge data. These discharge data are typically used for billing, but are also used for some public health surveillance efforts such as reporting on communicable disease. The ICD-9-CM codes provided a population-level picture of many preventable and non-preventable adverse events. The researchers combined this data source with an algorithmic patient safety indicator developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which has been demonstrated as a useful indicator of specific adverse events for which known prevention strategies are available.

Taylor and colleagues point out that hospital discharge data sources such as these are easily accessible to administrators and safety personnel and can be a useful source of information for patient safety. By describing patient safety events at the population level, their method capitalizes on the consistent standardized information the discharge data provide, and could be used by any health care entity across the U.S. and the world that utilizes the ICD system for coding.

Nationwide, patient safety efforts and innovations in health care are already accelerating due
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Contact: Rachel Ewing
raewing@drexel.edu
215-895-2614
Drexel University
Source:Eurekalert

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