Save Money and Reduce Medical Errors

by Dr Nick

and improve the quality of healthcare!
HealthImaging featured a report Medical errors cost U.S. $17 billion in 2008 which estimated that

This figure amounted to 0.72 percent of the $2.39 trillion spent on healthcare that year in the U.S.

The study identified the sources based on medical claims estimating:

564,000 inpatient injuries (1.5 percent of all inpatient admissions in the U.S.) and 1.8 million outpatient injuries (0.15 percent of the estimated outpatient encounters nationwide)

Given the landmark publication “To Err is Human” from the IOM from November 1999 that estimated at that time:

…total costs (in¬≠cluding the expense of additional care necessitated by the errors, lost income and household productivity, and disability) of between $17 billion and $29 billion per year in hospitals nationwide.

the progress remains frustratingly poor more than 10 years on. There is a top 10 list featured in the latest research that accounted for 69% of the costs

  • Postoperative infections were the most costly error, ($3.3 billion)
  • Pressure ulcers ($3.2 billion)
  • Mechanical complications of noncardiac device implant or graft ($1 billion)
  • Postlaminectomy syndrome ($995 million)
  • Hemorrhage complicating a procedure ($678 million)
  • Infection due to central venous catheter ($589 million)
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) ($569 million)
  • Infection following infusion, injection, transfusion or vaccination ($566 million)
  • Other complications of internal prosthetic device, implant and graft ($398 million
  • Ventral (abdominal) hernia without mention of obstruction or gangrene ($342 million)

The list serves as a focal point for healthcare professionals and patients that offer significant opportunity for improvement in both costs and quality of care. With the announcement of Accountable Care Act (ACO) on March 31 by HHS will further focus the healthcare system on removing errors and delivering a more complete and holistic approach to care. There has been much written about the ACO concept with many commentators suggesting that organizations and healthcare facilities are not ready for these changes. I would suggest that we can neither afford as providers nor accept as patients any delay in a move towards fully accountable care that focuses on on putting the doctors and patients in better control of their care and linking reimbursement to outcomes

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