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2005 National Healthcare Quality Report

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Chapter 3. Patient Safety

The Institute of Medicine defined patient safety in its 1999 report, To Err Is Human, as freedom from accidental injury due to medical care or medical errors.1

Importance and Measures

Mortality
Number of Americans that die each year from medical errors (1999 estimate)........ 44,000-98,0001
Number of Americans that die in the hospital each year due to 18 types of medical injuries (2000 estimate)..................................................................... at least 32,0002
   
Cost
Cost attributable to medical errors (in lost income, disability, and health care costs) (1999 estimate).............................................................. $17 billion-$29 billion1

Measures

Much progress has been made in recent years in raising awareness, developing event reporting systems, and developing national standards for data collection. Data remain incomplete for a comprehensive national assessment of patient safety.3 Nevertheless, several measures are available to provide insight into the level of patient safety in the United States. This section highlights six core report measures relating to adverse events and postoperative complications of care, hospital-acquired (nosocomial) bloodstream infections, and medication errors:

  • Postoperative venous thromboembolic events
  • Postoperative hip fracture
  • Adverse events associated with central venous catheters
  • Iatrogenic pneumothorax
  • Hospital-acquired bloodstream infections in ICU patients
  • Inappropriate use of medications by the elderly

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Adverse Events and Postoperative Complications of Care Chapter 2. References

 

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