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Adverse Events in Korean Traditional Medicine Hospitals

A Retrospective Medical Record Review

Hwang, Jee-In PhD*; Kim, Jinsung KMD, PhD; Park, Jae-Woo KMD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000190
Original Articles

Objectives Traditional medicine has been used worldwide in recent decades. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of adverse events (AEs) in traditional medicine hospitals and investigate patient and health-care utilization factors associated with AE occurrence.

Methods A 2-stage review of 1152 randomly sampled charts in 2 teaching Korean traditional medicine hospitals was conducted. Three physicians and a quality improvement specialist identified AE occurrence, severity, and preventability using the Global Trigger Tool (Appendix 1, Supplemental Digital Content, Two traditional Korean medicine professors validated the findings. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine factors associated with AE occurrence.

Results One hundred twenty-two admissions (10.6%) had at least one AE (7.39 events per 1000 patient days and 14.5 events per 100 admissions). Among 167 AEs, 73.7% were mild and 70.7% were judged preventable. Procedure-related AEs were most common. After considering other patient and health-care utilization characteristics, factors associated with AE occurrence were altered mental status on admission (OR, 3.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20–12.44), use of various traditional medicine therapies (OR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.32–2.15), length of stay (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01–1.03), and number of unique triggers (OR, 6.35; 95% CI, 4.54–8.89).

Conclusions Approximately 11% of inpatients in traditional medicine hospitals experienced AEs. Because patients have a higher risk of AEs, special attention should be paid to those with altered mental status on admission, receiving various traditional medicine therapies, staying for a longer period, and having various positive triggers.

From the *Department of Nursing Management, College of Nursing Science,

Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.

Correspondence: Jae-Woo Park, KMD, PhD, 3rd Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University Kyungheedae-Ro 26, Dongdaemoon-Gu Seoul, 130–701, Korea (e-mail:,

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors disclose no conflict of interest. This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Grant No. 2012R1A1A2008214).

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