Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that helps employers and other health care purchasers by gathering and disseminating data about the quality of available health care. The group recently released a report card that identifies which hospitals present the most hazardous environments for patients in terms of preventable medical errors and other injuries. The report card assigns facilities a grade, from A through F, to give consumers an easily understood representation of hospital quality.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is seeking approval for a new method by which patients can report medical mistakes. Federal officials explained that unreported medical errors are a lost opportunity to make health care safer. Unless hospitals choose to report their own errors, information that could be used to reduce infections, improve surgical practices and otherwise enhance the quality of health care is often lost.
A new study has analyzed medical errors affecting children who have been hospitalized. The medical error rate for children who suffer a chronic health condition was significantly higher than that for children who do not. The result of the study was expected, as chronic health conditions are likely to force a child to remain hospitalized for longer periods and may complicate the treatment of the child. Still, it is important for parents of children with chronic health conditions to understand that the risk of a medical mistake is elevated.
A consumer advocacy group known as Public Citizen claims that medical malpractice payments in 2011 were a record low. The group additionally claims that medical malpractice payouts have been decreasing for eight consecutive years. The data provided by the group was meant to demonstrate that malpractice payments are not to blame for the rising cost of health care in the United States.
A study of orthopedic surgical residents in two Boston hospitals analyzed the impact fatigue had on performance, as well as the frequency with which new surgeons worked while tired. The study participants averaged 5.3 hours of sleep per day. When the results of the residents were compared to a group of well-rested residents, it was shown that the sleep-deprived group was operating at 70 percent mental effectiveness. The researchers calculated that 70 percent effectiveness equated to a 22 percent greater chance of committing a medical error than an alert and properly rested physician.
A 2009 quality-improvement program conducted at Children's Hospital in Colorago identified misplaced orders as the second most common reason why care is provided to the wrong patient. Misplaced orders have been decreased as a result of the program, dropping from 12 incidents in 2010 to 3 incidents one year later.
A new study in Health Affairs has compiled the survey results of more than 1,800 physicians concerning how forthright they are with their patients. After a serious medical error or other form of medical malpractice, victims may not be informed of the truth by their doctors. The study is contrasted with a 2010 telephone survey that showed that nearly 80 percent of Americans trust their doctors fully, while only 8 percent indicated that they did not.
A senior health care official with the Obama administration believes that the medical field has something to learn from the aviation industry in terms of safety. By focusing on safety and efficiency, he believes that medical malpractice can be drastically reduced while simultaneously controlling the spiraling costs of health care.
We all rely on hospitals to maintain and improve our health, but a new government study reveals that hospitals often represent dangerous environments where patients are frequently harmed by preventable errors.
For years, expecting parents have been celebrating one of the most joyous occasions in life, the birth of a child, by taking pictures and video before, after, and often during the delivery. But recently many patients and their families have been surprised to learn that the hospital where the delivery is taking place has denied them the ability to preserve these moments by banning the use of still cameras, video cameras or both in the delivery room. This trend is the subject of a recent New York Times article, which also describes efforts by patients to fight back, including at least one instance of a community organizing a petition to have the local hospital reverse its new rule banning pictures and videos until after the baby is born.