Using patient safety indicators to estimate the impact of potential adverse events on outcomes

Peter E. Rivard, Stephen L. Luther, Cindy L. Christiansen, Shibei Zhao, Susan Loveland, Anne Elixhauser, Patrick S Romano, Amy K. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The authors estimated the impact of potentially preventable patient safety events, identified by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs), on patient outcomes: mortality, length of stay (LOS), and cost. The PSIs were applied to all acute inpatient hospitalizations at Veterans Health Administration (VA) facilities in fiscal 2001. Two methods - regression analysis and multivariable case matching - were used independently to control for patient and facility characteristics while predicting the effect of the PSI on each outcome. The authors found statistically significant (p <.0001) excess mortality, LOS, and cost in all groups with PSIs. The magnitude of the excess varied considerably across the PSIs. These VA findings are similar to those from a previously published study of nonfederal hospitals, despite differences between VA and non-VA systems. This study contributes to the literature measuring outcomes of medical errors and provides evidence that AHRQ PSIs may be useful indicators for comparison across delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-87
Number of pages21
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Cost
  • Mortality
  • Outcomes
  • Patient safety
  • Patient safety indicators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Health Policy


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