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CPSI Share                                                  
1/28/2013 5:00 PM

Webinar outlines how to determine the cost of adverse events and the cost-effectiveness of patient safety improvement strategies

In November 2012, the Ontario Hospital Association partnered with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) to host a webinar to present the findings from a recent study on the Economics of Patient Safety in Acute Care.

During the webinar, Lead Investigator Dr. Edward Etchells, Associate Director of the University of Toronto Centre for Patient Safety, identified the important elements of economic evaluations. He explained in simple terms, how to determine the cost of adverse events and the economic attractiveness of patient safety improvement strategies.  In addition, Dr. Etchells outlined a five-step plan in determining the economic burden of adverse events:

  1. Define the target of concern/burden;
  2. Define the economic perspective (hospital budget/societal issues such as patient or family/different outcome, etc.);
  3. Decide what to count and count it;
  4. Assign a unit cost to each element; and
  5. Attribute costs to safety. 

Dr. Etchells also summarized the patient safety improvement strategies that the study found economically attractive, including: pharmacist-led medication reconciliation, chlorhexidine for vascular catheter site care, standard counting strategy for detecting surgical foreign bodies, and Keystone ICU patient safety program to prevent central line-associated blood stream infections.

 “You need to have a good understanding of the costs and benefits when faced with tough decisions,” says Dr. Etchells.  “Given the right information, policy and decision makers will be better informed to make wise choices and do the right thing.”

Commissioned by CPSI and released in 2012, the Economics of Patient Safety in Acute Care study estimates the cost of preventable patient safety incidents at $397 million.  Calculating the estimated economic burden of preventable patient safety incidents in acute care can help policy and decision makers to explore ways to improve patient safety and avoid unnecessary healthcare expenditures.

Click here to view the webinar, or visit for a link to the site. The webinar is available in English only.

Click here to download a copy of the Economics of Patient Safety in Acute Care report, or to learn more about the research study visit and click on Research.