The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released the 2015 National Healthcare and Quality Disparities Report’s Chartbook on Patient Safety that shows major improvements in patient safety. These improvements are the result of strong, diverse public-private partnerships working collaboratively to promote best practices on reducing hospital-acquired conditions and hospital readmissions.
Patient safety in hospitals nationwide continued to improve from 2010 to 2014, as the overall rate of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) declined by 17%. Examples of HACs include surgical site infections, adverse drug events, pressure ulcers, and catheter-associated urinary tract and vascular infections. The overall HAC rate declined from 145 per 1,000 hospital stays in 2010 to 121 per 1,000 stays in 2013, remaining at that lower rate in 2014.
Approximately two million harmful events were avoided from 2010 to 2014, saving an estimated 87,000 lives and $20 billion in health care costs.
Among patient safety measures with trend data available for 2001-2002 through 2013, more than 60% showed improvement over time. Measures of patient safety improvement included person-centered care, care coordination, and effective treatment.
Individual measures of patient safety
For about one-third of patient safety measures, high-income households received better care than poor households and whites received better care than some minority groups. African Americans received worse care than white Americans for about 20% of patient safety measures. The Chartbook provides a summary of trends across patient safety measures and a data query tool to access data tables.