One out of every 10 Medicare patients who experienced a patient-safety incident between 2006 and 2008 died as a result, according to a new HealthGrades report. The errors cost taxpayers $8.9 billion, the healthcare-rating organization found.
HealthGrades examined roughly 40 million hospital records at 5,000 nonfederal hospitals nationwide to determine safety levels based on "indicators developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality." It found that patients who were treated at hospitals considered to be among the safest in the nation were 43 percent less likely to suffer a patient-safety incident. If all hospitals in the country provided the same safe care as these "safe" hospitals, nearly 23,000 deaths could have been prevented, at a savings of $2 billion, the study concluded.
"Avoiding mistakes by chance is no longer acceptable," according to the report. "When patients enter the healthcare system, they entrust their health and their lives to their caregivers. The healthcare system must continue to put systematic safe practices in place to ensure that the system created to save them doesn't unintentionally harm them."