Medical errors continue to dog healthcare
A new Wolters Kluwer Health Survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers revealed that nearly one third of Americans (30 percent) have experienced a medical mistake either firsthand or from a third-party. A majority (68 percent) believe that as the medical field continues to adopt new technologies, medical errors will decrease.
Seventy-three percent of respondents expressed concern about medical errors, with nearly half (45 percent) characterizing their distress as significant (“very”). Anxieties fluctuated based on age and sex, with older consumers aged 35-54 expressing more apprehension than younger contributors (76 percent vs. 66 percent), and women out-worrying men by eight percentage points (76 percent vs. 68 percent). No matter how it’s sliced, very few people are dismissing lapses made by physicians, medical personnel or other healthcare providers.
"What is clear from survey findings is that there is a high level of concern among American consumers about medical mistakes, which could impact the doctor-patient relationship as well as how consumers approach their own healthcare," Linda Peitzman, MD, chief medical officer, Wolters Kluwer Health, said in a press release. "Clinical decision support tools can play a significant role in reducing instances of medical errors and improving communication among parties involved in a patient's care. Studies have shown that hospitals that adopt certain clinical decision support systems experience shorter hospital lengths of stay, reduced mortality rates and overall improvements in quality of care."
Whereas over one-third of survey participants (35 percent) believe most medical errors occur amongst hospital staff, Peitzman said hat this issue is by no means just contained to operating rooms and ER hallways; it’s a problem on the primary care table as well.
“We [Wolters Kluwer Health] believe that these survey results can apply to practices of any size in that the poll was performed on a large sample size of adult patients who presumably see physicians in a variety of practice sizes,” Peitzman noted. “From our perspective, Wolters Kluwer Health is focused on the area of point of care, and equipping clinicians with tools and resources that help them make informed decisions about a diagnosis or treatment. Advances in point-of-care resources and technologies can positively impact physician practices of all sizes, not only by reducing errors and improving efficiencies, but also by improving overall quality of care.”
Other cause for error was attributed to doctors and nurses being rushed (26 percent), staff being fatigued (14 percent) and hospitals/practices experiencing staffing shortages (12 percent).