Qualidigm Conducts National Study on Patient Safety Trends Published in NEJM

Adverse events for patients being treated for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and heart failure in hospitals have declined, reports a study published in the January 23rd 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, "National Trends in Patient Safety for Four Common Conditions, 2005 to 2011," was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and conducted by Qualidigm, the QIO for Connecticut, with AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The researchers used medical record data of Medicare patients 65 and older from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System, the nation’s largest randomly selected medical record abstraction-based database designed for patient safety tracking. They looked at 21 adverse event measures among patients hospitalized in the United States from 2005 to 2011 for AMI, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care.

The measured adverse events that jeopardize patient safety included drug reactions, hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, falls and numerous health care-related infections. The researchers found that within the study’s timeframe, the rate of AMI patients experiencing one or more adverse events declined from 26.0 percent to 19.4 percent, and the rate of heart failure patients experiencing adverse events declined from 17.5 percent to 14.2 percent. Both results were statistically significant.

“Cardiac patients are safer today than ever before, which is a major achievement for the nation,” said Thomas Meehan, M.D., Qualidigm’s chief medical officer. “We are pleased to see that efforts across the nation have led to fewer adverse events for patients being treated for AMI and heart failure in hospitals. However, as we celebrate this positive outcome, we must be mindful that significant challenges remain in our redoubled efforts to make care safer for all patients,” said Dr. Meehan.

Among patients undergoing major surgery or treatment for pneumonia, results were less encouraging, as pressure ulcers and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) negatively impacted improvement efforts. As a result, no significant changes in the rate of adverse events were measured in the pneumonia or surgical patient populations.

Read more on Qualidigm's website here.