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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24909

Title: The Impact of Adverse Events on Hospital Outcomes and Sensitvity of Cost Estimates to Diagnostic Coding Variation
Authors: Wardle, Gavin John
Advisor: Wodchis, Walter
Department: Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Keywords: patient safety
adverse events
hospital costs
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: Previous research has established a consensus that in-hospital adverse events are ubiquitous, cause significant harm to patients, and have important financial consequences. However, information on the extent, consequences and costs of adverse events in Canada is limited. For example, there is, as yet, no published study that has investigated the costs of adverse events in a Canadian context. This dissertation aims to redress this situation by providing Ontario-based estimates of the impact of eleven nursing sensitive adverse events on cost, death, readmission, and ambulatory care use within 90 days after hospitalization. This dissertation also aims to contribute more broadly to the patient safety literature by quantifying the impact of diagnostic coding error in administrative data on estimates of the excess costs attributable to adverse events. Given the increasing importance of these estimates in Canada and elsewhere for hospital payment policy and for assessments of the business case for patient safety, this is an important gap in the literature. Each of the adverse events was associated with positive excess costs, ranging from $29,501 (metabolic derangement) to $66,412 (pressure ulcers). Extrapolation from the study hospitals yielded a provincial estimate of $481 million in annual excess costs attributable to the adverse events, which represents 2.8 percent of Ontario’s total hospital expenditures. Several of the adverse events were also associated with significant excess rates of death, readmission, and ambulatory care use. These results suggest that there are economic as well as ethical reasons to improve patient safety in Ontario hospitals. Estimates of adverse event costs were highly sensitive to coding error. The excess cost of adverse events is likely to be significantly underestimated if the error is ignored. This finding, coupled with the observation that the likelihood of error is ignored in most studies, suggests that previous assessments of the business case for patient safety may have been biased against the cost effectiveness of patient safety improvements. Furthermore, the observed extent of institutional level variation in adverse event coding indicates that administrative data are an inadequate basis for adverse event payment policies or for public reporting of adverse event rates.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24909
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
The Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation - Doctoral theses

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