Good News From the ER: Hospital Mistakes Are on the Decline


Let’s continue our good news theme this morning. For the past few years, via several different programs, the federal government has been working hard to get hospitals to adopt practices that rein in the curse of “hospital acquired conditions”—also known as HACs. These are things like prescription mistakes, central line infections, slips and falls, and so forth. Today, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a report showing that HACs have been declining since these programs began in 2010.

The chart on the right tells the basic story. HACs declined a bit in 2011, and then fell even further in 2012 and 2013. By now, they’ve declined by a cumulative total of 17 percent. The AHRQ reports estimates that this represents 1.3 million HACs that have been prevented and 50,000 lives that have been saved. It’s also reduced health care costs by about $12 billion.

Much of this has been due to a laundry list of reforms introduced by Obamacare. So not only has Obamacare provided affordable health coverage for millions, but it’s reduced hospital errors by one out of every six and saved tens of thousands of lives in the process. Not bad.