New Medicare data sheds light on hospital errors


Despite the opposition of hospitals and their trade groups, Health and Human Services has released data for the first time that shows how many Medicare patients end up with conditions caused, not by their illnesses, but by their stay in the hospital and the medical negligence that exist in these hospitals. As many as 98,000 Americans are thought to die annually from medical errors, and about as many succumb to infections they picked up during a hospital stay; the new Hospital Acquired Conditions data provides a glimpse–albeit incomplete–of where these problems occur.

The data covers hospitals that accept Medicare patients, and includes information on a the number of patients who had procedures that could lead to specific kinds of errors and the percentage of them that did. The data counts the number of patients per institution who showed possible signs of neglect or abuse, such as severe bed sores, trauma and falls, as well as egregious errors such as patients being given the wrong blood type, or foreign objects being left in the body after surgery.

On the Reporting Group site, Sarah Dorsey has a story, plus the data itself in downloadable format here. And we have an interactive map here.

Hospital Acquired Conditions map -- detail