Doing well by doing good: evaluating the influence of patient safety performance on hospital financial outcomes.
Experts have argued for a business case for patient safety, but studies of economic outcomes and patient safety have been mixed. This retrospective, cross-sectional study sought to determine whether hospital safety was associated with hospital financial outcomes by analyzing Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score data and American Hospital Association data on operating income, operating margin, and net patient revenue. This study included more than 2200 hospitals in the United States. After adjusting for factors affecting both safety and finances (such as hospital size, teaching status, rural versus urban location, and payer mix), investigators found that hospitals with better financial performance were likely to have a higher safety rating. The authors suggest that promoting patient safety leads to improved financial outcomes; however, it is equally possible that financially stable hospital systems invest more in preventing adverse events and promoting safety. A past PSNet perspective discussed efforts to promote the business case for patient safety.