From the January 1995 implementation of The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Database through December 31, 2017, The Joint Commission has reviewed 13,688 reports of sentinel events and included de-identified information about them in the Sentinel Event Database.
Database content includes data collected and analyzed from the review of sentinel events and comprehensive systematic analyses. By tracking aggregate information that includes causes and outcomes of sentinel events, The Joint Commission can provide critical information that may help guide local efforts to mitigate future risk. The Joint Commission recently updated its summary data of sentinel event statistics for 2017. Data from the 10,819 incidents reported from 2005 through 2017 show that these events affected a total of 11,189 patients (as multiple patients may be impacted by a single event).
Patients were impacted as follows:
- Death: 5,826 (52.1%) patients
- Unexpected additional care: 2,881 (25.7%) patients
- Permanent loss of function 845 (7.6%) patients
- Severe temporary harm: 619 (5.5%) patients
- Psychological impact: 357 (3.2%) patients
- Permanent harm: 143 (1.3%) patients
- Other/unknown/unassigned: 518 (4.6%) patients