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Do no harm: Hospital care in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sun, November 16, 2010

The Sun’s reporting on patients being harmed while hospitalized is based on the newspaper’s analysis of Nevada hospital data collected in 2008 and 2009.

Nevada law requires that the data, which are based on hospital billing records, be collected for analysis. Nevada is one of at least 40 states that collect similar data.

The 560,000 records do not contain patient names, birth dates or addresses, nor do they identify admission dates. These records are not the same as medical records, so they lack clinical details such as nurse and doctor notes, diagnostic tests and medical histories. The data include detailed information on diagnoses, procedures and billed charges for each admission — essentially a summary of what was wrong with the patient and what was done. They also indicate the patients’ length of stay and whether they were sent home or to another facility, or died.

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