Patient harms up 70% in Massachusetts hospitals

In 2013, acute-care hospitals in Massachusetts reported 753 serious medical errors and patient injuries, up roughly 70 percent from 2012, according to a Boston Globe report.

Massachusetts hospitals reported more patient falls, bed sores, assaults and suicide attempts than last year, as well as wrong-site surgeries and burns from OR fires, according to the Globe report.

However, the large jump in patient harms could be misleading, a Massachusetts Department of Public Health official told the Boston Herald. The DPH collects patient harm data from the state's hospitals.

New national quality definitions expanded the number and type of events that need to be reported, according to Madeleine Biondolillo, MD, the DPH's associate commissioner. Additionally, online reporting streamlined the process, and the department increased its outreach efforts to increasing reporting.

"DPH anticipates a continued upward trend in number of reported events in 2014 as facilities become increasingly efficient in evaluation and reporting," Dr. Biondolillo told the Herald in a statement.

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