In case you missed this, preventable medical errors costed the country $19.5 billion in 2008 — or roughly $13,000 for each avoidable case, according to a report published Monday by the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
Maybe I missed them in the document, but I didn't find central line infections, ventilator associated pneumonia, spread of MRSA, failure in timely recognition of patient deterioration, failure to diagnose, and other conditions that can result from systemic flaws in the delivery of care. If so, the number is understated.
For example, we found remarkable cost savings resulted from avoiding ventilator associated pneumonia in our hospital alone. As discussed below:
Preventing 744 cases over three years -- at a treatment cost of about $20,000 per case -- translates into a societal savings of $14.9 million during this period.
Whether $20 billion or more, the report presents yet another compelling reason to eliminate preventable harm in our hospitals.