The Journal of Patient Safety has published an evidence-based estimate of patient harms relating to hospital care. In 1984, the Institute of Medicine estimated that up to 98,000 Americans died each year as a result of medical errors. In light of the fact this data was nearly three decades old, a new study was undertaken using updated evidence-based data from modern studies published between 2008 and 2011. The results of the study revealed that approximately 440,000 patients die each year from preventable medical errors.
The conclusions of the study were that the “epidemic of patient harm in hospitals must be taken more seriously if it is to be curtailed. Fully engaging patients and their advocates during hospital care, systematically seeking the patient’s voice in identifying harms, transparent accountability for harm, and intentional correction of root causes of harm will be necessary to accomplish this goal.” The Institute of Medicine has concluded that preventable medical errors cost the United States and its citizens tens of billions of dollars a year. To consider this epidemic in another manner, Health Affairs has published an article that reveals 1 in 3 patients who are admitted to a hospital will experience a medical error.