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The One Tool You Need to Measure Patient Safety and Quality

Calculating a total patient harm rate helps hospitals to learn where they need to focus improvement efforts.

Do you know your hospital’s bottom line in patient safety and quality? Tracking individual adverse event rates is important, but measuring a total patient harm rate is essential for hospitals and health care systems as they improve patient safety and quality. A total patient harm rate can be calculated and used to help connect the dots on improvement projects. Measuring total patient harm provides valuable information for the board as well as for quality committees, medical executive committees and nursing executive committees.

Executives at hospitals that are tracking and reporting this measure say it helps the organization to focus on quality priorities and increases accountability through transparency. To calculate an overall patient harm composite, health care organizations can aggregate metrics on the number of harm occurrences. These occurrences include: adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line–associated bloodstream infections, injuries from falls, obstetrical adverse events and early-elective deliveries, pressure ulcers, surgical-site infections, venous thromboembolism and ventilator-associated events.

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