Jan 31, 2019 - Economy

Hospitals in the U.S. are getting safer

Hospital bed

Photo: Aric Crabb/Digital First Media/Bay Area News via Getty Images

The number of people who get sick while they're in the hospital is falling pretty significantly, saving lives and also billions of dollars, according to the latest figures from HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) from 2014 to 2017.

By the numbers: Hospital-acquired conditions fell by about 13% over that three-year period. AHRQ estimates that roughly 86 out of every 1,000 hospitalizations involves a hospital acquired condition, down from 99 out of every 1,000. That reduction helped prevent more than 20,000 deaths and saved roughly $7.7 billion.

Hospital-acquired conditions include infections, adverse drug reactions, and similar unintended side effects. AHRQ noted a particularly strong 28% reduction in drug-related adverse events.

What's next: In 2014, AHRQ set a goal of achieving a 20% reduction in total hospital-acquired conditions by the end of this year.

Go deeper: The poor state of U.S. hospital quality

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