Study: Some rates of hospital harms are improving, others aren't

A recent study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at nearly 200,000 medical records from different patients. Researchers found a decline in adverse events for certain conditions.

The study concluded that there was a significant decline between 2012 and 2019 in adverse events involving acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, pneumonia, and major surgical procedures.

What’s an adverse event?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines an adverse event as an event in which care resulted in an undesirable clinical outcome—an outcome not caused by underlying disease— that prolonged the patient stay, caused permanent patient harm, required life-saving intervention, or contributed to death.

Based on federal requirements, other studies looking at adverse events among Medicare patients found that 27% of them experienced some type of harm. Researchers concluded that 43% of those adverse events could have been prevented through better care.

Adverse events in other areas are stagnant

The JAMA study used a sample of medical records selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS patient quality and safety monitoring project looks at the data for four categories of adverse events.

While the JAMA study appears to be good news for the safety of patients with acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, pneumonia, and major surgical procedures, all other categories have a stagnant, unimproved adverse event rate. These include:

Category 1: Adverse drug events (no improvement in adverse events)

• Associated with digoxin

• Associated with hypoglycemic agents

• Associated with heparin

• Associated with low-molecular-weight heparin and factor Xa inhibitors

• Associated with warfarin

Category 2: Hospital-acquired infections (no improvement in adverse events)

• Central line-associated blood stream infections

• Postoperative pneumonia

• Hospital-acquired antibiotic-associated C. difficile infection

• Physician-diagnosed catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTI)

• Hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staph. Aureus (MRSA)

• Hospital-acquired vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus infection

• Ventilator-associated pneumonia

Category 3: Adverse events after a procedure (some improvement in adverse events)

• Associated with a hip joint replacement

• Associated with a knee joint replacement

• Mechanical complications associated with central lines

• Postoperative venous thromboembolic events

• Postoperative cardiac events (cardiac and noncardiac surgeries)

• Associated with femoral artery puncture for catheter angiographic geographic procedures

• Contrast nephropathy associated with catheter angiography

Category 4: General adverse events (no improvement in adverse events)

• Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers

• Inpatient falls

Common medical malpractice

In Texas, we continue handling medical malpractice claims in all these areas. We are currently handling medical negligence claims for seriously injured clients involving post-operative infections, bariatric surgical errors, general surgical errors, sepsis, bedsores, and falls in hospitals and facilities.

If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor medical, hospital, or healthcare in Texas, then contact a top-rated, experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation about your potential case.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.