One-third of patients may suffer from hospital errors

According to a report from Health Affairs, a new study has shown that injuries caused by hospital error may be ten times more frequent than previously estimated.

Three leading hospitals from across the country were examined. All three of which have worked to improve their overall quality by investing in new programs and research projects. Samples of inpatient records were looked at and researchers concluded that one-third of patients that were admitted to these hospitals suffered from adverse events, or hospital errors.

Researchers used various methods to determine the safety of the patients including the "Global Trigger Tool" which was designed by the coauthor of the study, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. This "tool" helps detect incidences of harm, or "unintended physical injury result from, or contributed to, by medical care."

Scientists logged 345 hospital errors out of a pool of 795 records and they evaluated these records by using other methods and found between four and 35 errors. These findings led researchers to conclude that previous estimates of hospital errors have been significantly off.

The study's authors concluded: "Our findings indicate that two methods commonly used by most care delivery organizations...fail to detect more than 90 percent of the adverse events that occur among hospitalized patients. Reliance on such methods could produce misleading conclusions about safety in the U.S. health care system and could misdirect patient safety improvement efforts."

These findings may lead to a nation-wide upset about the ineffectual efforts that have been implemented to improve hospital safety.
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