Report ups medical error death toll
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 16, 2004
A recent study of Medicare patients by Health Grades Inc., a Colorado-based health care quality consultant, reported that some 195,000 deaths in the United States are attributable to in-hospital medical errors.
The AMA, which disputes the accuracy of the Institute of Medicine's estimate that 44,000 to 98,000 die as a result of medical errors, took issue with the Health Grades study, but noted that working to pass the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act was a priority of the Association.
In a statement, AMA Immediate Past President Donald J. Palmisano, MD, said: "The AMA strongly supports research that improves patient safety, but a recent report from the for-profit company Health Grades was not peer reviewed, and the authors themselves recognize the flaws in their methodology, which relies on claims data that have inherent limitations, including not being able to explain complex situations or make cause-and-effect connections."
Samantha Collier, MD, Health Grades' vice president of medical affairs, said the company chose to self-publish the study to get the information out to the public more quickly. She said the release also was timed to coincide with the announcement of its Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety to have a balance of positive and negative news.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/08/16/prbf0816.htm.