New AHRQ Chartbook Shows 17 Percent Decline in Hospital-Acquired Conditions

Patient safety in hospitals nationwide continued to improve from 2010 to 2014, as the overall rate of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) declined by 17 percent, according to the 2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report’s Chartbook on Patient Safety. Examples of HACs include surgical site infections, adverse drug events, pressure ulcers, and catheter-associated urinary tract and vascular infections.

The overall HAC rate declined from 145 per 1,000 hospital stays in 2010 to 121 per 1,000 stays in 2013, remaining at that lower rate in 2014. Approximately 2.1 million harmful events were avoided from 2010 to 2014, saving an estimated 87,000 lives and $20 billion in health care costs. Among patient safety measures with trend data available from 2001-2002 through 2013, more than 60 percent showed improvement over time. However, for about one-third of patient safety measures, high-income households received better care than poor households, or whites received better care than some minority groups.

The chartbook provides a summary of trends across patient safety measures and a data query tool to access data tables. Also available is a PowerPoint version of the chartbook that can be used for presentations. For more information on AHRQ’s patient safety resources, click here.