Hospital Deaths Decreased Significantly

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Hospital Deaths

Hospital deaths from heart attacks and other serious conditionsdecreased significantly from 1994 to 2004, according to a reportreleased on Wednesday by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bloomberg/Detroit Newsreports. According to the report, hospital deaths from heart attacksdecreased by 43 per 1,000 patients from 1994 to 2004, and deaths fromcongestive heart failure, pneumonia and stroke each decreased by about30 per 1,000 patients over the same period.

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The report alsofound that an estimated 136,000 hospital patients who would have diedfrom six conditions in 1994 survived in 2004. Mamatha Pancholi, aresearch analyst with AHRQ, said that the decrease in deaths resultedin part because hospitals have increased focus on quality of care andare "taking advantage of improved treatment options and bettertechnology." In addition, he said that hospitals have improved effortsto categorize patient conditions and treatments "so we get better dataon what's really happening."

Emergency Physician Survey

In related news, the American College of Emergency Physicianson Tuesday released a survey of 1,500 emergency physicians that foundan increase in hospital overcrowding in the past year. According to thesurvey, about half of respondents cited cases in which patientsexperienced unnecessary complications because they had to wait for ahospital bed, and 200 cited cases in which patients died because theyhad to wait. About 80% of respondents said that the use of "boarding,"in which hospitals admit ED patients when no rooms are available andleave them in hallways for extended periods of time, increased in thepast year, the survey found (Waters, Bloomberg/Detroit News, 10/11).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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