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Hospitals are cutting down on their deadly mistakes, HHS says

The Washington Post, May 8, 2014

People are human, hospitals are staffed by humans, so it's no surprise that mistakes happen in hospitals. But it looks like hospitals are getting better at cutting down on their own errors. The rate of hospital-acquired conditions — complications that develop during a patient's stay — dropped nine percent between 2010 and 2012, according to new data from the Department of Health and Human Services. That translates to 15,000 fewer deaths in hospitals, a $4.1 billion savings in avoidable costs and a total of 560,000 "patient harms" avoided in 2011 and 2012, HHS says. For reference, a Journal of Patient Safety study last year estimated anywhere between 210,000 and 400,000 hospital deaths tied to preventable harm each year.