Journal Article

The impact of medical errors on ninety-day costs and outcomes: an examination of surgical patients.

Encinosa WE; Hellinger FJ.

The financial costs associated with medical errors have gained increasing attention, due to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy of nonpayment for certain preventable adverse events. This study sought to estimate costs associated with adverse events (measured by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Patient Safety Indicators) in surgical patients. Importantly, by measuring costs for a 90-day period after surgery, the authors were able to estimate the postdischarge financial impact of adverse events. Up to 20% of costs were incurred after hospital discharge, and the investigators found significant impact of adverse events on mortality and hospital readmissions. The implications of this study and prior research in this area help formulate a business case for safety.