Direct health care costs of hospital admissions due to adverse events in the Netherlands

F.J.H. Magdelijns*, P.M. Stassen, C.D.A. Stehouwer, E. Pijpers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Health care-related adverse events (AEs) are common, and the economic burden is substantial. Information on costs of health care-related AEs 'leading' to hospitalization is limited and has focused on adverse drug events. Aim: To provide insight into costs of admissions due to (preventable) health care-related AEs, not limited to adverse drug events. Methods: This study was conducted during a 5-month period (May-September 2010) in the Netherlands, in a 600-bed university medical centre. All patients who were admitted via the emergency department to an internal medicine department because of a health care-related AE were included. We retrospectively retrieved all data on medical information as well as health care resource utilization from the patient's medical record. The cost of the admission was estimated (for each patient individually) by multiplying the number of resources by their specific unit cost and then summing all costs per patient. Results: In total, 324 admissions due to a health care-related AE were included (28.7% of all admissions). Total direct health care costs of these hospitalizations amounted to (sic)1 404 070 in a 5-month period. Medication-related AEs were most common (43.5%) and contributed most to the costs ((sic)587 550; 41.8%). Inpatient days were most expensive ((sic)1 076 385; 77.3%). Preventable health care-related AEs accounted for (sic)277 665 (19.8%). Conclusion: We found that health care-related AEs are expensive, with preventable health care-related AEs accounting for one-fifth of the costs. Awareness of possible health care-related AEs following medical actions is necessary to reduce already high health care costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1033
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014




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