Fewer hospital errors save 50,000 lives

U.S. hospitals made 17 percent fewer medical errors in 2013 than in 2010 and that may saved the lives of as many as 50,000 people, according to a new government report.

The medical records that were analyzed also showed a 9 percent decline in the rate of hospital-acquired conditions such as infections, bedsores and pneumonia from 2012-2013. In 2010, the Health and Human Services inspector general estimated that 180,000 deaths were caused by poor care in hospitals, for people covered by Medicare.

The problem of deadly hospital errors first start receiving a lot of attention in 1999 when the Institute of Medicine estimated that as many as 98,000 people die every year because of mistakes hospitals make that allow patients to contract infections, fall, develop pneumonia from being on a ventilator or suffer other serious but preventable accidents.

Hospitals have made a concerted effort to improve safety, spurred in large part by changes in how Medicare pays them. The Affordable Care Act reduces the reimbursement rate for hospitals that re-admit too many patients within 30 days, an indication of poor care the first time..

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Sourced from: Reuters, U.S. hospitals make fewer serious errors; 50,000 lives saved