Part 2: Steps to preventing medical errors

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Sep 29, 2012

In our last post we focused on the fact that there are roughly 2,080 wrong body part surgeries a year and what one Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon thinks would reduce the overall number of medical errors. One idea Marty Makary has is for hospitals to have informational dashboards for better transparency with patients. These dashboards would let patients know important information pertaining to the care at the facility, like how many patients are readmitted and how many surgical errors happen each year.

But for Makary, the suggestions to improving patient safety and reducing medical errors don't just stop there. He also wants to see the entire culture of safety change at hospitals.

What Makary means by a change of culture is for all medical staff to feel empowered enough to speak up when they see something wrong. For example, if a nurse notices that a surgery is about to be done on the wrong body part, he or she would feel confident enough to speak up to the surgeon without having to fear repercussions.

Along the same lines, if it's known a surgeon -- even one with a good reputation -- frequently makes mistakes and has a high patient rate of readmission due to complications, those on staff would feel comfortable enough to talk to supervisors about their concerns.

Lastly, Makray says when it comes to patient safety, teamwork among those working at the hospital is important. For at hospitals where staff reports a good level of teamwork, the rate of infection is typically less and patients seem to be overall more satisfied with their care.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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