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About One in 20 Patients Exposed to Preventable Harm

Last Updated: July 18, 2019.

The pooled prevalence of preventable patient harm is 6 percent across a range of medical settings globally, according to a review published online July 17 in The BMJ.

THURSDAY, July 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The pooled prevalence of preventable patient harm is 6 percent across a range of medical settings globally, according to a review published online July 17 in The BMJ.

Maria Panagioti, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify the prevalence, severity, and nature of preventable patient harm across a range of settings. Data from 70 studies involving 337,025 patients were included in the meta-analysis.

The researchers found that for preventable patient harm, the pooled prevalence was 6 percent. Twelve percent of preventable patient harm was severe or led to death. The largest proportions of preventable patient harm included incidents related to drugs and other treatments (25 and 24 percent, respectively). Preventable patient harm was more prevalent in advanced specialties compared with general hospitals (intensive care or surgery, regression coefficient b = 0.07).

"Efforts need to be focused on improving the ability to measure preventable harm," the authors said in a news release. "This includes fostering a culture that allows for more systematic capturing of near misses, identifying harm across multiple care settings and countries, and empowering patients to help ensure a safe and effective health system."

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