Number of adverse health events in Minn. continues to drop

By KBJR News 1

Number of adverse health events in Minn. continues to drop

January 23, 2014 Updated Jan 23, 2014 at 1:01 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Two reports released today by the Minnesota Department of Health suggests the number of adverse health events in hospitals continues to decrease in the state.

The two reports, Adverse Health Events in Minnesota Report and the 10 Year Adverse Health Events Evaluation Report, comes out on the ten year anniversary of the state's reporting system that tracks 28 types of serious events, such as wrong-site surgeries, severe pressure ulcers, falls, or serious medication errors.

The report indicates the number of events resulting in serious disability has followed a downward trend from nearly 100 in 2008 to 84 in 2013.

Likewise, health officials say there have been positive changes in the number of adverse health events related to surgeries and invasive procedures, including wrong-site surgeries and objects left in patients after surgeries. In 2011, there were 89 of these events compared to 61 in 2013.

Health facilities have also significantly decreased the time between when an adverse event occurred and when it was discovered from more than 60 days in 2003 to less than 10 days in 2013.

"Our evaluation confirmed that this joint effort between MDH, its partners, and Minnesota’s health care facilities has helped to shine light on what was often a hidden problem," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. "By doing so, it has not only contributed to better outcomes, faster responses, and better practices, but it has also resulted in a significant change in mindset, from acceptance that some errors are unavoidable to an expectation that those errors can be prevented."

Despite the decline in the total number of adverse events in hospitals in 2013, the number of deaths did not decrease.

There were 15 deaths last year from October 2012 to October 2013. Of the 15 deaths during that time period, 10 were related to falls.

Health officials say reducing falls and reducing harm from falls continues to be one of the most difficult hazards to eliminate, despite significant focus and adoption of best practices by health care facilities as well as MDH and MHA issuing a safety alert around identifying injury risk factors for falls.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns