No reduction in adverse medical events over six years despite efforts

Article found in ScienceDaily, Nov 24, 2010.

Despite concerted efforts, no decreases in patient harm were detected at 10 randomly selected North Carolina hospitals between 2002 and 2007, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Since a 1999 Institute of Medicine report sounded the alarm about high medical error rates, most U.S. hospitals have changed their operations to keep patients safer. The researchers wanted to assess whether these patient-safety efforts reduced harm. They studied hospitals in North Carolina because that state has shown a particularly strong commitment to patient safety.

“We found that harm rates — in a state that was very engaged in patient safety — did not change over time. This was a little surprising to all of us,” said senior study author Paul Sharek, MD, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford and chief clinical patient safety officer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “Our findings are a call to action for the health-care system. We need a nationwide strategy for reducing harm from medical care.”


No reduction in adverse medical events over six years despite efforts.

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