New Federal Study Evaluates the Safety of US Hospitals and the Answer Is…

The study entailed digging through an enormous number of medical records and identifying, then cataloging, adverse events that hospitalized patients suffered. Using a rigorous methodology, medical experts poured over more than 250,000 medical charts from more than 3000 hospitals in search of information about the adverse events linked to patient safety. The study was not based on conjecture or based on imprecise billing codes. It was built to produce estimates of our national performance and the message seems to be that we are doing good, but not good enough.

These events are friendly fire; the health system is harming people amid efforts to help them — people who experience preventable harm and whose lives are affected. The investments in safety are paying off, and progress indicates the preventability of these adverse events. The persistence of rates that are far too high shows the challenges to instituting change to make our health care even safer.

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