Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Report on medical error system urges transparency

A new report found that a medical error reporting system that is transparent can help patients receive better care, can reduce claims and liability rates and, ultimately, improve the medical field's understanding of how errors are made and how to fix them.

The study was performed within the University of Michigan Health System and looked at 66 cases from 2001. 38 of those cases were made before the medical error system was implemented, and 28 were made after the system was implemented. What the study found is that pre-implementation cases took twice as long to solve as cases with the transparent medical error system, and that the pre-implementation cases cost more in terms of liability.

This study is admittedly small and very specific, so it is tough to extrapolate these numbers out to the wider medical population. However, it is hard to argue that a transparent error system is worse than a non-transparent one. The study also noted that transparent error reporting also allows the medical field to better improve itself. When we don't know about errors, it is impossible for the medical industry to take steps to prevent those same errors from happening again.

Error reporting is crucial in the medical field, and it should be done as efficiently and properly as possible. Sadly, many medical workplaces have an atmosphere of intimidation and peer pressure, which limits error reporting and can even lead to medical personnel being bullied into not reporting certain things. For the sake of the patients, the hospitals and all of the medical staff members involved in the field, improved error reporting needs to become a reality.

Source: Healio, "Medical error disclosure policy helped cut claims, costs," April 29, 2014

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