Hospital patients are now sicker but survive longer

September 13, 2007

Patient survival rates improve

Survival rates for U.S. hospital patients have gone up, despite predictions that more patients would die from severe illnesses, a new study concluded. Advances in medical care since 1998 have resulted in the survival of 350,000 more patients than expected in 2006, according to the study by Thomson Healthcare's Center for Healthcare Improvement (CHI). Even though patients are surviving longer, the study indicates they are entering hospitals with more serious diseases. "The findings indicate significant progress in improving patient safety, as measured by survival rates, even though the nation's hospitals are facing the challenge of serving a higher percentage of inpatients with illnesses of increased severity," said Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., chief medical officer of CHI and a coauthor of the study. Survival rates, according to the study, increased 0.3% between 1998 and 2006, while the expected survival rate fell 0.7%. Healthcare officials attribute the rise in survival rates and the decrease in deaths to improved patient safety measures undertaken by hospital staff. A copy of the study, "Improvements in Hospital Inpatient Survival Rates, 1998-2006," is available at