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Study Finds Nearly 1 in 4 Hospital Admissions Experience Harmful Events

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A recent study found harmful events were identified in nearly one in four admissions, and approximately one fourth of these adverse events were preventable.

The study, The Safety of Inpatient Health Care, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, assessed the frequency, preventability, and severity of patient harm in a random sample of admissions from 11 Massachusetts hospitals during the 2018 calendar year. In a random sample of 2809 admissions, researchers identified at least one adverse event in 23.6%. Among 978 adverse events, 222 were judged to be preventable and 316 had a severity level of serious (i.e., caused harm that resulted in substantial intervention or prolonged recovery) or higher. A preventable adverse event occurred in 191 of all admissions, and a preventable adverse event with a severity level of serious or higher occurred in 29. There were seven deaths, one of which was deemed to be preventable. Adverse drug events were the most common adverse events (accounting for 39.0% of all events), followed by surgical or other procedural events (30.4%), patient-care events (which were defined as events associated with nursing care, including falls and pressure ulcers) (15.0%), and health care‚Äďassociated infections (11.9%).

These findings underscore the importance of patient safety and the need for continuing improvement.

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