Local Hospitals Making Fewer Medical Errors

Posted at: 01/23/2014 6:49 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- After ten years of requiring hospitals to report preventable errors, Minnesota again sees the numbers fall.

The state health department used its 2013 report of hospital errors to look into whether reporting the errors has increased safety. 

Statewide errors dropped by another 18%, while deaths stayed the same relatively with 15%.

There was also a significant drop in events that led to serious disabilities from 100 in 2008 to 84 in 2013.

Another area of significant success is the reduction of wrong site surgeries and items left in patients. That went from 89 to 61 in 2013.

"We've seen this year (2013) the lowest number of events that we've reported in the last 6 years," Mayo Clinic's Chair of Quality Paula Sandtrach said.

Locally Mayo Clinic also saw a drop, reporting only 29 events compared to 38 in 2012.  They say the reduction is primarily due to an emphasis on identifying pressure ulcers.

Sandtrach says it's important to learn from these events.

"There's always the element of human error and so we look at that human error and when it happens and how it happens and try to build systems that the human can interact with to try and prevent it."

Olmsted Medical Center was happy to report it had no errors in 2013, and it's hoping to continue the trend.

OMC released this statement: 

Olmsted Medical Center had no reportable adverse health events for the 2013-2014 reporting period.


"We are very pleased to see that our ever-evolving patient-safety efforts are having a positive effect. OMC operates on the belief that even one adverse health event is one too many, and continues to dedicate significant resources and time to maintaining a culture of patient safety. Not having any reportable adverse health events this past year is absolutely no reason to rest on our laurels or reduce our investment in patient safety, and we have no plans to do so – this area of caregiving is one that requires constant vigilance! We also applaud our patients for increasingly playing a role in their own safety – increased patient engagement with our providers, processes, and personal health information is a positive trend that we would like to see continue."



2013 was the first time the total events reported has dropped below 300 since changes in 2007, and the Minnesota Department of Health is hoping the success in increasing safety will only continue.

In the report, 10 of the 15 deaths were related to falls. The MDH states that reducing falls continues to be one of the most difficult hazards to prevent.