Thursday, March 4, 2010

OIG Report Evaluates Adverse Event Reporting Methods in Hospitals

A report by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) finds that reviewing medical records made by nurses and physicians may be the most effective way to monitor the occurrence of adverse events in hospitals.

The report, titled Adverse Events in Hospitals: Methods for Identifying Events, implemented five screening methods to a random sample of 278 Medicare beneficiary hospitals over a 2-week period in 2008. The case study was performed in accordance with the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which requires OIG to publish regular reports on efforts to better identify adverse medical events.

The five methods employed in the case study were:
  • Nurse reviews of medical records;
  • Interviews of Medicare beneficiaries;
  • Two types of billing data analysis;
  • and Reviews of internal hospital incident reports.

Each flagged event identified using one of the above methods was later reviewed by physicians. OIG determined that the most effective screening method was the nurse review, which identified the most adverse events.

OIG has recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) continue to research methods for identifying adverse events in the review of medical records.

To read the full report, click here:

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