During Patient Safety Awareness Week, which took place March 11 - 17, 2018, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement promoted increases in medical standards for patients. In conjunction with this event, Heartland Health Research Institute released an article focusing on the issues and possible improvements in Iowan patient care.
According to a 2017 safety survey conducted by the institute, almost 19% of Iowan patients experienced some sort of medical error, 58.5% of which occurred in a hospital. Improper testing, surgical operations, and/or issues during treatment were among the most common errors made by professionals.
Perhaps most disturbing in all of this is the fact that medical professionals are not required to inform the patient when an error occurs.
Medical errors are prevalent across the nation and are often preventable. According to the Heartland article, a number of flaws in the healthcare system can unnecessarily cause these errors, including:
Complexity of the healthcare system – the current healthcare system makes patient transfer from one medical professional to another extremely difficult, and creates an unnecessary opportunity for errors to occur.
Overworking medical staff – the average medical professional works almost 60 hours per week. This burnout can unintentionally lead to a misdiagnosis or other patient errors.
Ineffective communication channels – when patients are shuffled between doctors, specialists, pharmacists, and other medical professionals, patient information is easily lost. Lack of proper communication can cause a number of medical errors, such as incorrect treatments and/or unnecessary procedures.
Poor incentives to improve patient safety – because the healthcare industry is not impacted by financial incentives, medical professionals are not motivated to increase patient safety practices.
Many of these weaknesses are preventable by creating a “culture of safety” in the medical workplace that would look something like this:
Minimizing staff burnout to help medical professionals stay alert and decrease medical errors.
Adopting an improved patient handoff policy to decrease miscommunications and promote patient health.
Providing interoperable electronic health records to give professionals all their patient's medical information, thus decreasing the chance of error.
These are just some examples of improvements medical professionals can make by adopting a “culture of safety.”
At Danny Cornell Law, we believe patient safety should a medical priority. As most medical errors are preventable, medical professionals should take responsibility for their mistakes.
Our medical malpractice lawyer advocates on your behalf and aims to get you the compensation you deserve. With over 25 years of experience practicing personal injury law, you can rest assured we have the knowledge to pursue your claim confidently and aggressively.
Medical professionals should be held accountable for their actions. Contact Danny Cornell Law today to discuss your medical malpractice claim.