Medical errors are a common reason for people to suffer adverse outcomes when they receive treatment in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. The problem is so prevalent that the industry is constantly seeking strategies to improve patient safety and avoid these missteps. Part of that is through research and legislation. For medical professionals from physicians on down the line, it is important to pay attention to the findings. It is also wise for patients to be knowledgeable of why mistakes happen so they can know what to look for if they or a loved one suffered unexpected conditions, illness, injury or death after receiving medical care.
Government agencies release report to Congress about patient safety
Two agencies – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently provided information to Congress about patient safety. The report was necessary to comply with the 2005 Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act and show what steps have been taken to help achieve its goals. One involves a database about patient safety. In 2019, the Network of Patient Safety Databases was launched to standardize how data is collected, but it is still relatively new and not widespread.
As for reducing medical errors, the strategies that are planned include analytics in assessing patient safety, finding errors and tracking potential risk; accruing information about complicated safety issues; using practical evidence by building a better infrastructure; and fostering the use of new tactics specifically pointed toward patient safety. A problem with putting these ideas into effect is the health systems themselves. A “learning” health system – combining internal data with experience – is a priority, but it is in its infancy. Once fully implemented, it will rapidly identify and address potential problems before they can damage patients. The goal is to have artificial intelligence lead the way in helping patients, but that is still being developed.
Medical errors continue to happen with long-term damage and death
Until there is a comprehensive learning health system and accurate information for medical mistakes, why they occur and what can be done to reduce their frequency, people are likely to continue to face preventable health challenges. When a person goes for medical care, they are expecting to receive an accurate diagnosis, be given the proper medication, get the correct treatment and not suffer injuries and death due to medical malpractice. Unfortunately, this is a continuing problem with ideas yet to be put in action to substantially reduce them. If a person has been negatively impacted, it is important to have assistance with deciding on how to proceed. This can help with holding the medical professionals accountable for their errors.