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Friday, November 26, 2010

Hospitals Are Not For Sick People

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that hospitals remain unsafe. A study comparing the last 10 years reflects that there have been no significant changes in safety rates for patients entering hospitals.  For decades the number has been stable, close to 25% of hospital patients get sicker because of unsafe or unhealthy hospital conditions or activities.

"Among 2341 admissions, internal reviewers identified 588 harms (25.1 harms per 100 admissions; 95% confidence interval [CI], 23.1 to 27.2). Multivariate analyses of harms identified by internal reviewers showed no significant changes in the overall rate of harms per 1000 patient-days (reduction factor, 0.99 per year; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.04; P=0.61) or the rate of preventable harms. There was a reduction in preventable harms identified by external reviewers that did not reach statistical significance (reduction factor, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.85 to 1.00; P=0.06), with no significant change in the overall rate of harms (reduction factor, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.93 to 1.04; P=0.47)."

Adverse complications of medical care provided to injured workers are compensation under workers' compensation. Employers and insurance carriers should encourage safe and harmless medical care for injured workers.

Temporal Trends in Rates of Patient Harm Resulting from Medical Care, N Engl J Med 2010; 363:2124-2134November 25, 2010