Changes to Hospital Inpatient Volume After Newspaper Reporting of Medical Errors

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of medical error case reporting by national newspapers on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals. DESIGN: A case-control study was conducted using the article databases of 3 major Japanese newspapers with nationwide circulation between fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Data on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals were obtained from a Japanese government survey between fiscal years 2011 and 2014. Panel data were constructed and analyzed using a difference-in-differences design. SETTING: Acute care hospitals in Japan. PARTICIPANTS: Hospitals named in articles that included the terms “medical error” and “hospital” were designated case hospitals, which were matched with control hospitals using corresponding locations, nurse-to-patient ratios, and bed numbers. EXPOSURE: Medical error case reporting in newspapers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes to hospital inpatient volume after error reports. RESULTS: The sample comprised 40 case hospitals and 40 control hospitals. Difference-in-differences analyses indicated that newspaper reporting of medical errors was not significantly associated (P = 0.122) with overall inpatient volume. CONCLUSIONS: Medical error case reporting by newspapers showed no influence on inpatient volume. Hospitals therefore have little incentive to respond adequately and proactively to medical errors. There may be a need for government intervention to improve the posterror response and encourage better health care safety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 30 2017

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Medical Errors
Newspapers
Inpatients
Case-Control Studies
Motivation
Japan
Nurses
Databases

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Leadership and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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title = "Changes to Hospital Inpatient Volume After Newspaper Reporting of Medical Errors",
abstract = "OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of medical error case reporting by national newspapers on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals. DESIGN: A case-control study was conducted using the article databases of 3 major Japanese newspapers with nationwide circulation between fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Data on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals were obtained from a Japanese government survey between fiscal years 2011 and 2014. Panel data were constructed and analyzed using a difference-in-differences design. SETTING: Acute care hospitals in Japan. PARTICIPANTS: Hospitals named in articles that included the terms “medical error” and “hospital” were designated case hospitals, which were matched with control hospitals using corresponding locations, nurse-to-patient ratios, and bed numbers. EXPOSURE: Medical error case reporting in newspapers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes to hospital inpatient volume after error reports. RESULTS: The sample comprised 40 case hospitals and 40 control hospitals. Difference-in-differences analyses indicated that newspaper reporting of medical errors was not significantly associated (P = 0.122) with overall inpatient volume. CONCLUSIONS: Medical error case reporting by newspapers showed no influence on inpatient volume. Hospitals therefore have little incentive to respond adequately and proactively to medical errors. There may be a need for government intervention to improve the posterror response and encourage better health care safety.",
author = "Haruhisa Fukuda",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
day = "30",
doi = "10.1097/PTS.0000000000000349",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Patient Safety",
issn = "1549-8417",
publisher = "Lippincott Williams and Wilkins",

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N2 - OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of medical error case reporting by national newspapers on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals. DESIGN: A case-control study was conducted using the article databases of 3 major Japanese newspapers with nationwide circulation between fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Data on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals were obtained from a Japanese government survey between fiscal years 2011 and 2014. Panel data were constructed and analyzed using a difference-in-differences design. SETTING: Acute care hospitals in Japan. PARTICIPANTS: Hospitals named in articles that included the terms “medical error” and “hospital” were designated case hospitals, which were matched with control hospitals using corresponding locations, nurse-to-patient ratios, and bed numbers. EXPOSURE: Medical error case reporting in newspapers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes to hospital inpatient volume after error reports. RESULTS: The sample comprised 40 case hospitals and 40 control hospitals. Difference-in-differences analyses indicated that newspaper reporting of medical errors was not significantly associated (P = 0.122) with overall inpatient volume. CONCLUSIONS: Medical error case reporting by newspapers showed no influence on inpatient volume. Hospitals therefore have little incentive to respond adequately and proactively to medical errors. There may be a need for government intervention to improve the posterror response and encourage better health care safety.

AB - OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of medical error case reporting by national newspapers on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals. DESIGN: A case-control study was conducted using the article databases of 3 major Japanese newspapers with nationwide circulation between fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Data on inpatient volume at acute care hospitals were obtained from a Japanese government survey between fiscal years 2011 and 2014. Panel data were constructed and analyzed using a difference-in-differences design. SETTING: Acute care hospitals in Japan. PARTICIPANTS: Hospitals named in articles that included the terms “medical error” and “hospital” were designated case hospitals, which were matched with control hospitals using corresponding locations, nurse-to-patient ratios, and bed numbers. EXPOSURE: Medical error case reporting in newspapers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes to hospital inpatient volume after error reports. RESULTS: The sample comprised 40 case hospitals and 40 control hospitals. Difference-in-differences analyses indicated that newspaper reporting of medical errors was not significantly associated (P = 0.122) with overall inpatient volume. CONCLUSIONS: Medical error case reporting by newspapers showed no influence on inpatient volume. Hospitals therefore have little incentive to respond adequately and proactively to medical errors. There may be a need for government intervention to improve the posterror response and encourage better health care safety.

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