Skip to main content
Study

Stress on the ward: evidence of safety tipping points in hospitals.

Kuntz L, Mennicken R, Scholtes S. Stress on the Ward: Evidence of Safety Tipping Points in Hospitals. Manage Sci. 2014;61(4). doi:10.1287/mnsc.2014.1917.

Save
Print
July 9, 2014
Kuntz L, Mennicken R, Scholtes S. Manage Sci. 2014;61(4).

Many studies have pointed to a relationship between nurse staffing ratios and patient safety. This retrospective examination of hospital mortality across multiple sites in Germany found that at high hospital volume, mortality increased for six high-risk conditions drawn from AHRQ Quality Indicators—acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hip replacement, pneumonia, and stroke. This study revealed a tipping point, an occupancy rate of approximately 93% capacity, at which hospital mortality increased. The authors theorize that at high occupancy rates, frontline clinical staff are overworked and thus error-prone, consistent with prior studies on patient-to-nurse ratios. They propose flexible staffing policies in order to improve patient safety. A previous AHRQ WebM&M commentary discusses nurse staffing ratios, including challenges related to costs and and best practices for managing staffing needs.

Save
Print
Cite
Citation

Kuntz L, Mennicken R, Scholtes S. Stress on the Ward: Evidence of Safety Tipping Points in Hospitals. Manage Sci. 2014;61(4). doi:10.1287/mnsc.2014.1917.