A case for patient safety: preventable incidents cost millions

'New research report estimates the cost of preventable patient safety incidents is $397 million'

EDMONTON, July 9, 2012 /CNW/ - In the release of the paper "The Economics of Patient Safety in Acute Care", researchers have calculated an estimated economic burden of preventable patient safety incidents in acute care in Canada for 2009 - 2010 to be $396,633,936 ($397 million).  This estimate is only a small portion of the estimated entire cost of harmful incidents, and it does not include the indirect costs of care after hospital discharge, or societal costs of illness such as loss of functional status or occupational productivity.

Lead researchers, Dr. Edward Etchells, Associate Director of the University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety, and co-Principal Investigator Dr. Nicole Mittmann of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, conducted a comprehensive literature review on the economic burden of patient safety incidents in the acute care setting, comparing patient safety improvement strategies, and estimating the economic burden of patient safety incidents.

Commissioned by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), the research confirms the importance of patient safety improvement strategies in saving money for the healthcare system.  Four key strategies are outlined and considered economically attractive according to a limited number of cost-effectiveness studies found in the literature: pharmacist-led medication reconciliation, chlorhexidine for vascular catheter site care, standard counting strategy for detecting surgical foreign bodies, and the Keystone ICU patient safety program to prevent central line-associated blood stream infections.

Findings from this national report indicate that although further research in the area of economics of patient safety is still needed, it is clear that a focus on patient safety can lead to significant cost savings.  Etchells and Mittmann developed framework and guidelines, based on the Drummond checklist, for future economic evaluations and research in the area of patient safety. Continued research, education, and knowledge in patient safety will not only help save thousands of lives, but as well, millions of dollars.   "Economics in patient safety is just one area of research that CPSI has been involved with." says Hugh MacLeod, CEO, CPSI.  "We've also partnered with research in the areas of mental health, primary care, EMS, and long term care.  These research findings provide opportunity to advance the patient safety agenda."

About Canadian Patient Safety Institute
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety.  Funded by Health Canada, CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the healthcare we have and the healthcare we deserve.

To access the Economics of Patient Safety in Acute Care Report, visit www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca

SOURCE Canadian Patient Safety Institute

For further information:

For media inquiries, please contact:

Canadian Patient Safety Institute;
Cecilia Bloxom, Director of Communications, (780) 700-8642 CBloxom@cpsi-icsp.ca

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