New analysis shows that having more hospitalized patients who experience harm negatively impacts hospitals' bottom line.J Patient Saf. 2015 Mar 23; [Epub ahead of print].
Impact of inpatient harms on hospital finances and patient clinical outcomes.
Adler L, Yi D, Li M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2015 Mar 23; [Epub ahead of print].
A 2013 study showed hospitals actually profit when patients experience surgical complications, calling into question the business case for patient safety. This large multistate study used the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's global trigger tool to examine how all-cause inpatient harms affect hospital finances and clinical outcomes. Approximately 13% of inpatients experienced temporary harm and 12% experienced harm. This study relied on complicated cost accounting and statistical modeling, ultimately using three different financial models, including a novel approach that accounts for various diagnosis-related groups, to analyze the results. Patients who experienced harm had increased total costs, variable costs, and length of stay. Also, harms were associated with a lower contribution margin—an indicator of a hospital's profitability—suggesting harms result in negative financial outcomes for hospitals. As payment models increasingly shift toward paying for value rather than volume, the negative financial effects of inpatient harms are likely to be heightened.
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Temporal trends in rates of patient harm resulting from medical care.
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Utah Tenth Anniversary (2001–2011) Patient Safety Report: Identifying Opportunities for Improvement.
Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Department of Health, HealthInsight, Utah Hospital Association; 2012.