Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Financial Argument For Patient Safety

After writing yesterday's blog on Patient Safety, I came across another study, this time from the RAND Corporation, that provides more ammunition to use on those skeptics who are still not convinced that patient safety is a good financial investment. There have been numerous studies showing the direct cost savings of avoiding adverse events thus lowering length of stay and utilizing fewer resources. This is the first study I have seen that directly correlates lowering your number of adverse events with a lower volume of malpractice claims.

The study was conducted across numerous California counties between 2001 and 2005. It looked at both the number of adverse events and the volume of malpractice claims. The study showed a direct correlation of 3.7 fewer malpractice claims for every reduction of 10 adverse events. The good news is that this correlation held up from county to county. The bad news is that there is significant variation by county in the number of malpractice claims filed.

This has been my experience as well. Sometimes the likelihood of being sued is not just tied to how focused you are on patient safety, but also where you are located. Certain counties have national reputations as plaintiff attorney paradise. Even more reason for these hospitals to invest in patient safety. Tort reform in these areas would help also.

Another example of "Qualty first, Finances follow"

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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