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Tools/Toolkit > Fact Sheet/FAQs
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Revised December 2009. AHRQ Publication No. 10-M008.
This tip sheet provides 10 practical steps hospitals can undertake to improve patient safety, based on research funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The tips can be grouped into three areas: 1) reducing health care-acquired infections and retained surgical instruments through use of specific clinical practices; 2) improving drug safety by ensuring access to accurate drug information; and 3) improving the culture of safety through appropriate staffing and work hours for nurses and residents. These tips are based on high-quality research studies documenting the effectiveness of these interventions at reducing errors and improving safety for a broad range of patients.
Journal Article > Study
Universal screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at hospital admission and nosocomial infection in surgical patients.
Harbarth S, Fankhauser C, Schrenzel J, et al. JAMA. 2008;299:1149-1157.
Patients who are colonized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are at risk for infections, particularly after undergoing surgery, and may also transmit the bacteria to other patients if hospital staff do not follow proper infection control practices. This study evaluated one widely advocated strategy for reducing MRSA infections: screening all patients for MRSA at admission. Although the hospital had a relatively high rate of MRSA colonization, the intervention did not reduce nosocomial MRSA infections. Despite these results, universal screening for MRSA is likely to become increasingly common in hospitals, as several states have passed legislation mandating this practice.
Journal Article > Study
Van Den Bos J, Rustagi K, Gray T, Halford M, Ziemkiewicz E, Shreve J. Health Aff (Millwood). 2011;30:596-603.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped reimbursing hospitals for additional costs associated with certain preventable adverse events in 2008. Despite the widespread controversy engendered by this policy, the actual financial effect has been small, leading to calls for expansion of the policy. This actuarial study used a case-control approach to estimate the annual marginal cost of preventable adverse events in hospitalized patients at $17.1 billion, largely attributable to post-surgical complications, health care–associated infections, and pressure ulcers. Never events accounted for approximately $3.7 billion in excess costs. The results of this study provide targets for policy efforts to control health care costs and improve patient safety.