Half of medical errors in pediatric cases are preventable

Harm rate of 40 per 100 discharges
By Erin McCann
11:14 AM
A trigger tool developed to scan the electronic medical record of pediatric patients was able to identify that 45 percent of patient medical errors that caused harm were most likely preventable. 
In the study, researchers at six pediatric hospitals teamed up with clinical analytics company Pascal Metrics to develop a tool, the Pediatric All-Cause Harm Measurement Tool, that detected triggers in the electronic medical record that determined cases of patient harm. 
Researches used Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Global Trigger Tool as a model and adapted it for pediatric use. They used the trigger tool to examine 100 randomly selected inpatient records at each hospital. A total of 600 patient records were examined, and the tool was able to identity 240 "harmful events," according to the study, representing a rate of 40 harms per 100 admitted patients, a much higher number than many previous academic studies have shown. 
Further, researchers often found more than one harm linked to a patient. In fact, more than 23 percent of patients had at least one harm identified. The most common medical errors identified by researchers were surgical complications, intravenous catheter infiltrations/burns, respiratory distress, pain and constipation. 
Some researchers that participated in the study were also affiliated with Pascal Metrics, which sells analytics platforms. Participating institutions included Children's National Medical Center, Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, Boston Children's, Brigham and Women's, Children's National Health System, Children's Hospital Colorado, Children's Hospital Central California and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in California. 
A recent study by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital that analyzed more than 123,000 pediatric trauma discharges found that pediatric patients with chronic conditions experienced a medical error rate of 4 per 100 discharges. After controlling for confounding factors, researchers estimated that a chronic condition increased adjusted odds ratio of a medical error by 37 percent and 69 percent if the patient had more than one chronic condition. 
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