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Study shows hospital errors are improving

New Mexico residents may not have heard the recent statistics that show a 17 percent decline in preventable hospital errors such as bed sores, infections and drug mistakes. The federal review took into account medical records and other data from 2010 to 2013. While the specific reasons for the improvement in the health care industry aren't completely known, the report does list contributing factors such as public reporting hospital errors, incentives like technical help and monetary penalties put into effect by the Affordable Care Act.

Utilizing arrangements set up by health care quality professionals, the report estimates that there are 50,000 fewer fatalities occurring in hospitals and savings of $12 billion in health care costs as a result. The Health and Human Services Secretary commented that the new data shows tremendous progress in improving the condition of care patients receive and allows more efficient health care budgeting.

The report provided detailed analysis about conditions patients developed after hospitalization, including bloodstream infections, adverse drug reactions, surgery-related infections, ulcers and other common ailments. During the three-year period the study was taken over 1.3 million fewer hospital-related conditions were reported by patients.

While significant improvements have been made, the health care industry may still have a long way to go, and it is ambiguous which safety advances work best in hospitals. An estimated one in 10 patients will still experience a hospital-related condition. Another recent report found that hospital errors could be reduced by at least 25 percent if staff improved communications and implemented a standard checklist for sharing information between two shifts. If these methods could be improved, doctors and patients alike might see a decline in the number of physician errors.

Source: CBS News, "U.S. hospitals making fewer deadly errors, study finds", December 02, 2014

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