The Joint Commission recently updated its sentinel event statistics with new summary data for the first six months of 2013 (see table). For the first six months of 2013, 446 sentinel events were reported.Sentinel event outcomes from 2004 through the first half of 2013 show that a total of 7,440 patients have been affected by these events, with 4,476 (59.6 percent) resulting in the patient’s death, 700 (9.3 percent) resulting in loss of function, and 2,335 (31.1 percent) resulting in unexpected additional care and/or psychological impact.
The Joint Commission Sentinel Event database is designed to increase the general knowledge about sentinel events, their contributing factors, and strategies for prevention. The Joint Commission receives sentinel event reports voluntarily from accredited organizations, the complaint process, or the media. It is estimated that fewer than 2 percent of all sentinel events are reported to The Joint Commission and that only about two-thirds of these are voluntarily reported (4,977 of the 7,440 events reported since 2004 have been voluntarily reported). As these data are not an epidemiologic data set, no conclusions should be drawn about the actual relative frequency of events or trends in events over time.
(Contact: Gerard Castro, email@example.com)