Patient Safety Activity Under the Social Insurance Medical Fee Schedule in Japan: An Overview of the 2010 Nationwide Survey

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Little is known about patient safety performance under the social insurance medical fee schedule in Japan. The Health Ministry in Japan introduced the preferential patient safety countermeasure fee (PPSCF) to promote patient safety in 2006 and revised the PPSCF system in 2010. This study aims to address the patient safety performance status at hospitals implementing the PPSCF.


A nationwide questionnaire survey targeting 2674 hospitals with the PPSCF was performed in 2010 to 2011. The 627 participant hospitals were divided into the following three groups: 178 hospitals implementing PPSCF 1 with 400 beds or more (group A), 286 hospitals implementing PPSCF 1 with 399 beds or fewer (group B), and 163 hospitals implementing PPSCF 2 (group C).


The mean numbers (standard errors) of patient safety managers were 1.45 (0.07) in group A, 1.12 (0.04) in group B, and 0.37 (0.12) in group C (P < 0.001). The participation number and rates of all staff for the patient safety seminar were 1721 (167) and 1.64 (0.10) in group A, 580 (26) and 1.94 (0.09) in group B, and 349 (31) and 1.98 (0.17) in group C (P < 0.001, P = 0.105).


These results can be explained because hospitals with PPSCF 1 (groups A and B) must assign at least one full-time patient safety manager, whereas hospitals with PPSCF 2 (group C) are not required to do so. Patient safety performance at hospitals with PPSCF 1 was more active than that at hospitals with PPSCF 2. However, when the values were converted to per capita or per 100 beds, there were no differences across the three groups.


The PPSCF encourages hospitals to perform actions for patient safety by providing incentives under the social insurance medical fee schedule in Japan.

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