As we have reported in the past, so-called “never events” occur at a shockingly high rate at hospitals in Ohio and the rest of the United States. In fact, at least 4,000 times per year, doctors commit grave medical errors like leaving surgical instruments in patients, performing surgery on the wrong body part, or even performing surgery on the wrong person altogether.
A study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine brought this starting fact to the public’s attention a couple months ago. It also indicated that about one out of every 15 of these “never events” are serious enough to result in a patient’s death. In a new book, the lead author of the Johns Hopkins study has some ideas as to how the errors can be reduced.
He says a public compilation of hospital errors would force hospitals to take steps to correct certain errors that continue to occur. It would also encourage hospitals to implement and enforce techniques that are proven to work, but are often written off as too time-consuming, the lead author said. Some examples of these techniques include operating-room checklists, marking surgery sites with indelible ink and safety training.
Currently, many hospitals have put their own error-reporting systems in place, but the lead author said that they are often ineffective. That’s because so many of the errors go unreported, the lead author said.
In his book, the lead author explained, “To fix a problem, you need to measure it.” He said some states currently require hospitals to report their rate of errors, but a national system of reporting would be the most beneficial. Additionally, all hospitals should be held to the same standards of data collection as well as definition of procedures and errors, he said.
Hopefully, the medical field is inspired to make these changes so that fewer Americans have to suffer injuries or death as a result of medical errors.
Source: www.voxxi.com, “Medical errors: What can we do to prevent adverse events?” Feb. 4, 2013