Researchers examined mortality data for 1,984 hospitals nationwide from 2008 to 2012. During surprise inspections, 7.03% of patients died within 30 days of being admitted to the hospital, the study found. At other times, the 30-day mortality rate was 7.21%.
The difference was more pronounced at major teaching hospitals, where mortality dropped to 5.93% during inspection weeks from 6.41% at other times.
“Our findings are surprising because they highlight how increased focus, attention, and cognitive bandwidth, all of which happen when people are being monitored, could lead to measurable improvements in patient outcomes,” says senior study author Dr. Anupam Jena, a health policy researcher at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.