Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Canadian harm dollars add up, too

In my speeches and presentations in front of US audiences, I often make mention of the financial cost, as well as the human cost, of preventable harm in hospitals.  When abroad, I assert that the level of harm is roughly proportional to the population of the particular country.  This is irrespective of the institutional scheme of funding health care -- nationalized, private payer, public payer, single payer, multiple payers.  Such is the case because the systemic determinants of harm are related to the training received by medical providers and to the design of work associated with care delivery in hospitals, which are remarkably similar throughout the developed world.

We can extrapolate levels of preventable to the unnecessary costs incurred by such harm.  This point is documented in a recent publication of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, summarized in this article.  An excerpt:

In the release of the paper ,"The Economics of Patient Safety in Acute Care," researchers have calculated an estimated economic burden of preventable patient safety incidents in acute care in Canada for 2009 - 2010 to be $396,633,936 ($397 million).  This estimate is only a small portion of the estimated entire cost of harmful incidents, and it does not include the indirect costs of care after hospital discharge, or societal costs of illness such as loss of functional status or occupational productivity.

1 comment:

Mark Graban said...

The data sure seems to indicate that patient harm is roughly the same around the world - at least in countries like Canada, England, The Netherlands...


See the section "Is this just a problem in the United States?"