Statewide Longitudinal Progression of the Whole-Patient Measure of Safety in South Carolina

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Abstract

Meaningful improvement in patient safety encompasses a vast number of quality metrics, but a single measure to represent the overall level of safety is challenging to produce. Recently, Perla et al. established the Whole-Person Measure of Safety (WPMoS) to reflect the concept of global risk assessment at the patient level. We evaluated the WPMoS across an entire state to understand the impact of urban/rural setting, academic status, and hospital size on patient safety outcomes. The population included all South Carolina (SC) inpatient discharges from January 1, 2008, through to December 31, 2013, and was evaluated using established definitions of highly undesirable events (HUEs). Over the study period, the proportion of hospital discharges with at least one HUE significantly decreased from 9.7% to 8.8%, including significant reductions in nine of the 14 HUEs. Academic, large, and urban hospitals had a significantly lower proportion of hospital discharges with at least one HUE in 2008, but only urban hospitals remained significantly lower by 2013. Results indicate that there has been a decrease in harm events captured through administrative coded data over this 6-year period. A composite measure, such as the WPMoS, is necessary for hospitals to evaluate their progress toward reducing preventable harm.

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