Hospital Safety Varies Widely Nationwide:
WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Certain types of medical
errors are 46 percent less likely to occur at top-rated U.S.
hospitals than bottom-ranked hospitals, according to a new
HealthGrades researchers analyzed 40 million Medicare patient
records from 2007 to 2009 and focused on 13 patient safety
indicators, such as bed sores, bloodstream infections from
catheters, foreign objects left in the body after procedures and
excessive bleeding or bruising after surgery.
The patient safety indicators published by the U.S. Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality were used to identify preventable
medical errors and which hospitals were in the top 5 percent for
avoiding those errors.
Nationwide, hospitals varied widely in their performance,
according to the annual HealthGrades
Patient Safety in American Hospitals report, but some
hospitals have made significant improvements, said study co-author
Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality
The 10 cities with the best performing hospitals included:
Minneapolis-St. Paul; Wichita, Kan.; Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio;
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Boston; Greenville, S.C.; Honolulu; Charlotte,
N.C.; and Oklahoma City.
"But the fact remains that there are huge, life-and-death consequences associated with where a patient chooses to seek hospital care," May said in a HealthGrades news release. "Until we bridge that gap, HealthGrades urges patients to research the patient safety ratings of hospitals in their community and know what steps they can take to protect themselves from error before being admitted."
Among the other findings:
- Patients in top-ranked hospitals were 30 percent less likely to
contract a hospital-acquired bloodstream infection and 39 percent
less likely to suffer from post-surgical sepsis than those at
low-rated hospitals. Those infections can be deadly: Nearly one in
six patients who acquired a bloodstream infection while
- Patients treated at top-ranked hospitals were 52 percent less
likely to experience a central-line bloodstream infection.
- During the three years included in the study, four patient
safety indicators accounted for more than two-thirds of all patient
safety events. These indictors were: death among surgical
inpatients with serious treatable complications, pressure ulcers,
post-operative respiratory failure and post-operative sepsis.
- The 13 patient safety indicators included in the study were
associated with $7.3 billion in additional costs, or $181 per
Medicare patient hospitalization.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers
10 things you can do to be a safe patient.
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