Patient safety isn't about numbers, it's about people

The Numbers

RESEARCH ARTICLES

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education and Advocacy (CPSEA) is dedicated to raising awareness about patient safety through education, advocacy, and support.

We envision a world in which the patient's voice is heard and no one is harmed by healthcare.

One is a Number is a Product of Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy

​Johns Hopkins study suggests medical errors are third-leading cause of death in U.S.

May 2016

Analyzing medical death rate data over an eight-year period, Johns Hopkins patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. Their figure, published May 3 in The BMJ, surpasses the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's third leading cause of death—respiratory disease, which kills close to 150,000 people per year.


Hospitals Mess Up Medications in Surgery—a Lot​

2015

About half of all surgeries involve some kind of medication error or unintended drug side effects, if a new study done at one of America’s most prestigious academic medical centers is any indication.


'Countless' Patients Harmed By Wrong or Delayed Diagnoses

September 2015
Evidence is incomplete, but still shows most patients will be impacted by the problem at some point in their lives.


Falls in Nursing Homes, How Big is the Problem? 
Nursing home residents fall frequently. About 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries and those who survive frequently sustain injuries that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life.


Readmissions lead to $41.3B in additional hospital costs

April 2014

Some 1.8 million readmissions cost the Medicare program $24 billion; 600,000 privately insured patient readmissions totaled $8.1 billion; and 700,000 Medicaid patient readmissions cost hospitals $7.6 billion, according to the AHRQ.


How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals? 
September 19, 2013
In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services said that bad hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare alone in a given year. Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death, the study says. That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second.

Health care-associated infections cost $45 billion annually 
August 2013
About 1.7 million Americans acquire infections in health care settings each year, killing 99,000 patients and adding $45 billion to the nation’s annual medical expenses, said a report issued in July by the Alliance for Aging Research

Diagnostic Errors Are the Most Common Type of Medical Mistake 
April 24, 2013
To make their estimates, the investigators studied medical malpractice payment data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, an electronic collection of all malpractice settlement payments made by practitioners in the U.S. since 1986. They found that diagnostic errors were the most common source of the payments, the most costly and the most dangerous when it came to patients’ health. Such errors, which included diagnoses that were incorrect, wrong or delayed — were most likely to result in death than other other sources of malpractice suits such as surgical mistakes or medication overdoses.


Patient Engagement

February 2013

People actively involved in their health and health care tend to have better outcomes--and, some evidence suggests, lower costs.


A growing body of evidence demonstrates that patients who are more actively involved in their health care experience better health outcomes and incur lower costs. As a result, many public and private health care organizations are employing strategies to better engage patients, such as educating them about their conditions and involving them more fully in making decisions about their care.


Targeted Solutions Tool™ for Wrong Site Surgery Debuts 
February 2012
Although reporting is not mandatory in most states, some estimates put the national incidence rate, which includes wrong patient, wrong procedure, wrong site, and wrong side surgeries, as high as 40 per week.


The Most Common Medication Errors 
September 2009
In a study by the FDA that evaluated reports of fatal medication errors from 1993 to 1998, the most common error involving medications was related to administration of an improper dose of medicine, accounting for 41% of fatal medication errors.


Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People and Cost Billions of Dollars Annually. 
July 20, 2006
Medication errors are among the most common medical errors, harming at least 1.5 million people every year, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The extra medical costs of treating drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals alone conservatively amount to $3.5 billion a year, and this estimate does not take into account lost wages and productivity or additional health care costs, the report says.


The extra medical costs of treating drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals alone conservatively amount to $3.5 billion a year. 

July 2006
WASHINGTON -- Medication errors are among the most common medical errors, harming at least 1.5 million people every year, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The extra medical costs of treating drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals alone conservatively amount to $3.5 billion a year, and this estimate does not take into account lost wages and productivity or additional health care costs, the report says.


More than one of five Americans report that they or a family member experienced a medical or medication error. 
April 2002
More than one of five Americans report that they or a family member had experienced a medical or prescription drug error, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund. Based on respondents' evaluation of these errors, this translates into an estimated 8.1 million households nationally reporting a medical or prescription drug error which turned out to be a very serious problem.


The Institute of Medicine report, which estimated that there are 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually due to medical errors, may be the tip of the iceberg in determining the full extent of injuries from medical errors. 
April 2002
More than one of five Americans report that they or a family member had experienced a medical or prescription drug error, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund. Based on respondents' evaluation of these errors, this translates into an estimated 8.1 million households nationally reporting a medical or prescription drug error which turned out to be a very serious problem.


Preventable injury from medical mistakes are costing the economy as much as $29 billion annually, of which half is healthcare costs. 
2000
Experts estimate that as many as 98,000 people die in any given year from medical errors that occur in hospitals. That's more than die from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS--three causes that receive far more public attention. Indeed, more people die annually from medication errors than from workplace injuries. Add the financial cost to the human tragedy, and medical error easily rises to the top ranks of urgent, widespread public problems.

Even on the low estimate, medical mistakes kill more people than motor vehicle accidents 43,458; breast cancer 42,297; AIDS 16,516 
2000 
The knowledgeable health reporter for the Boston Globe, Betsy Lehman, died from an overdose during chemotherapy. Willie King had the wrong leg amputated. Ben Kolb was eight years old when he died during ''minor" surgery due to a drug mix-up.