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About 1 in 20 patients is a victim of preventable medical errors, and 12% of such cases result in permanent disability or death. Preventable harm results in about $9.3 billion in extra health care costs in the US. Reducing preventable harm could lead to better care and cost savings for health. : Health

OtherAbout 1 in 20 patients is a victim of preventable medical errors, and 12% of such cases result in permanent disability or death. Preventable harm results in about $9.3...

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It happens. In fact, about 1 in 20 patients is a victim of preventable medical errors, and 12 percent of such cases result in permanent disability or death, researchers say.

Preventable harm results in about $9.3 billion in extra health care costs in the United States, according to the study.

The findings suggest that reducing preventable patient harm could lead to significant improvements in medical care and considerable cost savings for health care systems worldwide, Panagioti and her colleagues said.

Journal Reference:

Maria Panagioti, Kanza Khan, Richard N Keers, Aseel Abuzour, Denham Phipps, Evangelos Kontopantelis, Peter Bower, Stephen Campbell, Razaan Haneef, Anthony J Avery, Darren M Ashcroft.

Prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across medical care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis.

BMJ, 2019; l4185

Link: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l4185

DOI: 10.1136/bmj.l4185

Abstract

Objective To systematically quantify the prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across a range of medical settings globally.

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources Medline, PubMed, PsycINFO, Cinahl and Embase, WHOLIS, Google Scholar, and SIGLE from January 2000 to January 2019. The reference lists of eligible studies and other relevant systematic reviews were also searched.

Review methods Observational studies reporting preventable patient harm in medical care. The core outcomes were the prevalence, severity, and types of preventable patient harm reported as percentages and their 95% confidence intervals. Data extraction and critical appraisal were undertaken by two reviewers working independently. Random effects meta-analysis was employed followed by univariable and multivariable meta regression. Heterogeneity was quantified by using the I2 statistic, and publication bias was evaluated.

Results Of the 7313 records identified, 70 studies involving 337 025 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence for preventable patient harm was 6% (95% confidence interval 5% to 7%). A pooled proportion of 12% (9% to 15%) of preventable patient harm was severe or led to death. Incidents related to drugs (25%, 95% confidence interval 16% to 34%) and other treatments (24%, 21% to 30%) accounted for the largest proportion of preventable patient harm. Compared with general hospitals (where most evidence originated), preventable patient harm was more prevalent in advanced specialties (intensive care or surgery; regression coefficient b=0.07, 95% confidence interval 0.04 to 0.10).

Conclusions Around one in 20 patients are exposed to preventable harm in medical care. Although a focus on preventable patient harm has been encouraged by the international patient safety policy agenda, there are limited quality improvement practices specifically targeting incidents of preventable patient harm rather than overall patient harm (preventable and non-preventable). Developing and implementing evidence-based mitigation strategies specifically targeting preventable patient harm could lead to major service quality improvements in medical care which could also be more cost effective.

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