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New Report on Adverse Health Events in 2021 in Minnesota Hospitals

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A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health shows the number of reportable adverse events and instances of patient harm rose in 2021 during the past year-long reporting period in Minnesota hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and community behavioral health hospitals.

Prior to 2021, the overall number of events had been stable, but 2021 saw an increase in events, primarily due to new challenges and increased care associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinicians were forced to adapt in real time as hospitals and health systems took care of sicker, higher acuity patients with multiple health concerns. Increased patient complexity due to COVID-19 led to longer hospital stays and other complications arising from delays in seeking care.

The length of stay in intensive care units more than doubled from 2.31 days in 2017 to 5.47 days in 2021. Longer hospital stays can lead to an increase in skin breakdown (pressure ulcers) by increasing the time a patient is lying down or using a medical device. Patients with longer length of stay may also experience loss of strength, leading to an increased risk of falling.

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