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SDW news brief: Pressure ulcers top the list of most costly, frequent medical errors

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 13, 2010

Pressure ulcers are the most expensive and frequent avoidable medical error, according to a claims-based study conducted by Millman, Inc. on behalf of the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The report lists the 10 most expensive errors in healthcare settings. Following pressure ulcers, the next two errors on the list are postoperative infections and problems related to devices and prosthetics.

Avoidable medical errors added $19.5 billion to the nation's healthcare bill in 2008. Most of that amount, $17 billion, was the cost of providing inpatient, outpatient, and prescription drug services to individuals affected by medical errors, says Jim Toole, chairman of SOA. "While this cost is staggering, it also highlights the need to reduce errors and improve quality and efficiency in American healthcare."

Milliman consultant Jonathan Shreve, a co-author of the report, described the estimates as conservative: "This number includes only the errors that we could identify through claims data, so the total economic impact of medical errors is in fact greater than what we have reported."

To read the full article for free—and find out the rest of the top 10—click here.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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