Hospital finances and patient safety outcomes

Inquiry. 2005 Spring;42(1):60-72. doi: 10.5034/inquiryjrnl_42.1.60.


Hospitals recently have experienced greater financial pressures. Whether these financial pressures have led to more patient safety problems is unknown. Using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Data for Florida from 1996 to 2000, this study examines whether financial pressure at hospitals is associated with increases in the rate of patient safety events (e.g., medical errors) for major surgeries. Findings show that patients have significantly higher odds of having adverse patient safety events (nursing-related patient safety events, surgery-related patient safety events, and all likely preventable patient safety events) when hospital profit margins decline over time. The finding that a within-hospital erosion of hospital operating profits increases the rate of adverse patient safety events suggests that any cost-cutting efforts be carefully designed and managed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Economics, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / trends*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Safety Management*
  • Surgery Department, Hospital
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects