Deaths and other harm to patients from preventable errors such as falls and surgical mistakes have dropped in the 10 years since Minnesota started requiring hospitals and other care centers to report them, according to a recently released report.
But the Minnesota Department of Health also said in a related annual report that patient deaths did not decrease in 2013. And patient falls have been particularly difficult to eliminate, the report said.
According to an article on the New Ulm Journal website, the department said the 10-year lookback shows encouraging progress under the state's Adverse Health Care Events Law. The law requires hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to report 29 types of incidents, including bed sores, falls, foreign objects left inside a patient after surgery, surgery on the wrong body part, medication errors and suicides. The law also requires studying how the mistakes happened.
"We've really been able to bend the curve and start to reduce the number of deaths and the number of disabilities that have occurred in hospitals," Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said in the article. "And our hospitals are safer than they were 10 years ago. They're safer because the hospitals have really taken on safety as part of their culture, from the top down, from the head person to the people on the floors."
Deaths from preventable errors declined from a high of 25 in 2006 to a low of five in 2011, according to the report. But the number bounced back up to 14 in 2012, and to 15 in the 2013 reporting year, which ran from October 2012 to October 2013. Ten of those deaths were related to falls.
The 10-year evaluation from the state Health Department recommended more education and training opportunities, better data sharing and more encouragement for providers to adopt best practices in patient safety.
Read the article.