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Safe Practice Scores Do Not Add Up to Fewer Patient Deaths

Safe Practices Survey data only shows how hospitals have implemented safety guidelines

TUESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- In hospitals, higher self-reported scores for improvements in safe practices do not correlate with reduced mortality rates, researchers report in the April 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Leslie P. Kernisan, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data on 1,722,064 discharges from 155 of the 1,075 hospitals that completed the 2006 Safe Practices Survey. The survey represents self-reported steps hospitals have taken to implement the National Quality Forum-endorsed Safe Practices for Better Healthcare.

When the hospitals were divided into quartiles according to their score, the mortality rates for the lowest to the highest were 1.97 percent, 1.78 percent, 2.04 percent, 1.96 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively, the investigators found.

"Our findings should not be interpreted, however, as indicating that the safe practices are not important or that they cannot be measured in an informative and valid way," the authors write. "Rather, future work should seek to establish valid methods for assessing adherence to the safe practices. Further research is needed to determine how performance on the Safe Practices Survey or other instruments designed to measure safe practices performance may correlate with other outcomes of interest to patients and policy makers."

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