Hospitals’ patient-safety data systems fall short, HHS says
Billing data may not be a reliable source of hospital adverse-event information and voluntary hospital incident reporting systems may be an unreliable source of information for patient-safety organizations, according to Adverse Events in Hospitals:
Methods for Identifying Events, a new report released by the HHS inspector general’s office. HHS researchers reviewed a random sample of 278 Medicare beneficiary hospitalizations in acute-care hospitals in two unidentified counties that took place during one week in August 2008. The researchers found that hospitals did not produce internal incident reports in 93% of 120 events where patient harm occurred in the hospital or as a result of care. It was also found that diagnosis codes were absent or inaccurate in the billing data for seven of the 11 identified cases of hospital-acquired conditions. The CMS, according to the report, responded by indicating that it has established a process for providing coding advice to hospitals and that it will perform its own study of coding for hospital-acquired conditions.