Catch-22: Better reporting reveals more adverse events at hospitals

Maryland hospitals reported higher levels of adverse events, according to a report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Office of Health Care Quality released last week. The higher numbers are attributed to better reporting, mandated by the Maryland Patient Safety Program, implemented for six years now, which requires that hospitals notify the state of adverse events.

In fiscal year 2010, Maryland hospitals reported 265 deaths and serious injuries, according to The Daily Record. Of those injuries, 88 were from patient falls, 50 from hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, 20 from delays in treatment and 15 from foreign bodies retained after surgery, according to a DHMH statement.

"Hospitals that regularly review errors, near-misses and misadventures are empowered to identify system failures and tend take definitive action to prevent their reoccurrence," added Director Grimm. "However, we believe there is always work to be done to improve efforts and we encourage hospitals to continue their mission to make their facilities safer for patients."  

As public reporting becomes increasingly transparent, more healthcare organizations across the nation may initially witness higher levels of adverse events. Transparency advocates say the goal of public reporting is to shine light on problems to efficiently fix them.

For more:
- check out the full DHMH report (.pdf)
- read the DHMH press release
- read The Daily Record article