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Prevalence, Severity and Nature of Preventable Patient Harm Across Medical Care Settings

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Submitted by Dr. Gary G. Kohls MD

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By Maria Panagioti, et al – July 17, 2019 (Excerpted article: 480 words)

Full article, including author affiliations and references at: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l4185

Objective 

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

Introduction

Patient harm during healthcare is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality internationally.

The World Health Organization defines patient harm as “an incident that results in harm to a patient such as impairment of structure or function of the body and/or any deleterious effect arising therefrom or associated with plans or actions taken during the provision of healthcare, rather than an underlying disease or injury, and may be physical, social or psychological (eg, disease, injury, suffering, disability and death).” 

The health burden and patient experiencing healthcare-related patient harm has been reported to be comparable to chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cervical cancer in developed countries, and tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.

Harmful patient incidents are a major financial burden for healthcare systems across the globe.

It is estimated that 10-15% of healthcare expenditures are consumed by the direct sequelae of healthcare-related patient harm.

Early detection and prevention of patient harm in healthcare is an international policy priority.

In principle, zero harm would be the ideal goal. However, this goal is not feasible because some harms cannot be avoided in clinical practice.

For example, some adverse drug reactions which occur in the absence of any error in the prescription process and without the possibility of detection are less likely to be preventable.

Key sources of preventable patient harm could include the actions of healthcare professionals (errors of omission or commission), healthcare system failures, or involve a combination of errors made by individuals, system failures, and patient characteristics.

Key types of preventable harm were

  1. drug-related,
  2. diagnostic errors,
  3. medical procedure-related, and
  4. healthcare-acquired infections.

The excess length of hospital stays attributable to medical errors is estimated to be 2.4 million hospital days, which accounts for $9.3 billion excess charges in the US. More

Hoaxes, Scams, and Your Medical Care

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Contributor & author: Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD, (California) board-certified anesthesiologist and President of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons  (see bio at bottom of release)

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April 9th, 2019

Hoaxes and scams have been dominating the news lately. We have a marginally known actor faking a hate crime supposedly to raise his Hollywood profile. His attempt to claw his way to the middle could have resulted in race riots, injury, and death. His punishment? All charges dropped.

The scandal about Hollywood and other elites buying their children’s way into top-rated universities really hit home. I remember when I had tutored some recent Vietnamese immigrants for a debate contest to win a scholarship for college. I could only hope that their hard work was rewarded and not wiped away by special favors bestowed on the “haves.”

Now we continue to have a slew of healthcare hoaxes: corporate stakeholders, legislators, and government agencies promise everything and have no accountability for their failure to keep their promises.

Take the large health systems’ claim that hospital consolidation and buying up physician practices would benefit consumers with cheaper prices from coordinated services and other unspecified savings. A major study of California hospital mergers found just the opposite. The analysis showed that the price of an average hospital admission went up as much as 54 percent. When the large hospital systems bought doctors’ groups, the prices rose even more. There was as much as a 70 percent increase in prices of medical services in geographic areas with minimal competition. This finding seems obvious to any of us who has the choice of shopping at Walmart or Target or Costco. More

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