Adverse Events Lengthen Stays at Pediatric Hospitals

June 2, 2008

Adverse events experienced by hospitalized children may increase length of stay and costs, and pediatric-specific quality indicators are useful in calculating these effects, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics in June.

MONDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse events experienced by hospitalized children may increase length of stay and costs, and pediatric-specific quality indicators are useful in calculating these effects, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics in June.

Matthew P. Kronman, M.D., of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues identified adverse events among 431,524 discharges from 38 academic, non-profit pediatric hospitals in the United States participating in the Pediatric Health Information System database in 2006. They used Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality pediatric-specific quality indicators, and the primary outcomes were excess lengths of stay and excess charges attributable to adverse patient-safety events.

The investigators found that excess lengths of stay attributable to pediatric-specific quality indicator events ranged from 2.8 days for accidental puncture and laceration to 23.5 days for postoperative sepsis. In addition, excess overall charges ranged from $34,884 for accidental puncture and laceration to as high as $337,226 for in-hospital mortality after heart surgery. The most common pediatric-specific quality indicator events were infection because of medical care, postoperative respiratory failure and postoperative sepsis.

"In an era in which quality measures and benchmarking are becoming increasingly important, these indicators provide a rational place to focus quality-improvement efforts seeking to reap significant patient and cost benefits," the authors write.

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