Revisiting Medical Mistakes in South Florida
For years now, physicians and hospitals have been looking for reliable ways to reduce the rate of medical errors and serious patient injuries. When it comes to medical mistakes, there is both good news and bad news. According to a recent report from Becker’s Hospital CFO Report, the rate of medical mistakes, in general, fell between the years 2014 and 2016 and, as such, they ended up saving hospitals billions of dollars. At the same time, experts cannot point to a clear-cut path for reducing medical negligence in hospitals. Indeed, another article in Becker’s Clinical Leadership & Infection Control recently reported that “closer supervision of resident physicians doesn’t curb medical errors.”
In other words, medical mistakes are declining slightly, but we cannot necessarily pinpoint the key driving factors.
Hospital-Acquired Infections and Injuries Have Declined, and Fewer Patients Fatalities Reported
Some good news concerning medical mistakes is that “the rate of hospital-acquired conditions, including infections, injuries from falls, and harm from medication errors fell 8 percent from 2014 to 2016,” according to the Becker’s report. In total, that declining rate of patient injuries ended up saving about $2.9 billion when compared with prior years. In addition, that reduced rate of hospital injuries prevented about 8,000 patient fatalities. This data comes from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
This data also means that about 350,000 fewer medical errors occurred each year. The data suggests that hospitals have taken significant steps to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and that those steps are working. By 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is aiming to see a 20 percent reduction in hospital-acquired conditions. Such a reduction would also result in savings of more than $19 billion per year and would prevent about 53,000 patient deaths. While the data does not make it look as though this goal is likely to be met within a year, hospitals are hopefully on their way to improving patient safety records.
Closer Supervision of Residents Will Not Prevent Medical Errors
How have hospitals reduced the rate of medical errors and patient injuries?
We generally know that hospitals are implementing programs to “mitigate any patient safety issues,” but we know more about what is not working than what is working when it comes to reducing patient injury. More specifically, the recent Becker’s article explains that “attending physicians who joined patient rounds and monitored residents closely did not significantly reduce medical errors.”
That information was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The study clarifies that residents are not less likely to make serious errors when they are observed more closely by attending physicians.
By determining what methods do not work to reduce patient injuries, hospitals can turn their attention to methods that do work.
Contact a Boca Raton Medical Malpractice Attorney
Were you recently injured while under the care of a physician or while receiving routine care at a nearby hospital? You should learn more about filing a medical negligence claim by speaking with a Boca Raton medical malpractice lawyer. An advocate at our firm can assess your case and discuss your options with you today. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information about how we can help with your claim.