Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 211–219

Hospital ownership and preventable adverse events

  • Eric J. Thomas
  • E. John Orav
  • Troyen A. Brennan
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2000.07003.x

Cite this article as:
Thomas, E.J., Orav, E.J. & Brennan, T.A. J GEN INTERN MED (2000) 15: 211. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2000.07003.x

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine if type of hospital ownership is associated with preventable adverse events.

DESIGN: Medical record review of a random sample of 15,000 nonpsychiatric, non-Veterans Administration hospital discharges in Utah and Colorado in 1992.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A two-stage record review process using nurse and physician reviewers was used to detect adverse events. Preventability was then judged by 2 study investigators who were blinded to hospital characteristics. The association among preventable adverse events and hospital ownership was evaluated using logistic regression with nonprofit hospitals as the reference group while controlling for other patient and hospital characteristics. We analyzed 4 hospital ownership categories: nonprofit, for-profit, major teaching government (e.g., county or state ownership), and minor or nonteaching government.

RESULTS: When compared with patients in nonprofit hospitals, multivariate analyses adjusting for other patient and hospital characteristics found that patients in minor or nonteaching government hospitals were more likely to suffer a preventable adverse event of any type (odds ratio [OR] 2.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45 to 4.20); preventable operative adverse events (OR, 4.85; 95% CI, 2.44 to 9.62); and preventable adverse events due to delayed diagnoses and therapies (OR, 4.27; 95% CI, 1.48 to 12.31). Patients in forprofit hospitals were also more likely to suffer preventable adverse events of any type (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.03 to 2.38); preventable operative adverse events (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.42 to 4.87); and preventable adverse events due to delayed diagnoses and therapies (OR, 4.15; 95% CI, 1.84 to 9.34). Patients in major teaching government hospitals were less likely to suffer preventable adverse drug events (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.89).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients in for-profit and minor teaching or nonteaching government-owned hospitals were more likely to suffer several types of preventable adverse events. Further research is needed to determine how these events could be prevented.

Key words

iatrogenic injury adverse events quality of care hospital ownership error patient safety 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Thomas
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. John Orav
    • 1
  • Troyen A. Brennan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Received from the Division of General Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s HospitalBoston
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBoston
  3. 3.the Department of Health Policy and ManagementHarvard School of Public HealthBoston
  4. 4.Division of General Internal Medicine and Section of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of MedicineUniversity of Texas-Houston Medical SchoolHouston

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