Jane is always on:
Consumers Union asserts that preventable medical harm still accounts for over 100,000 deaths a year in the U.S., and a total of over 1 million American lives in the past decade. What factors continue to cause these fatal errors?
- Few hospitals have adopted computerized prescribing and dispensing systems which, when effectively deployed, prevent errors.
- There continues to be a lack of transparency in error-reporting by hospitals – notwithstanding the fact that this was a recommendation published in the the IOM report.
- There is no national organization tracking patient safety or progress in reducing medical errors. CU believes that the AHRQ falls short of fully tracking progress.
The bottom line: clinicians are no more competent in managing patient safety in 2009 than they were in 1999.
We get paid for practicing quantity medicine, not quality medicine in America. There are few, if any, realistic or economically rational incentives in America to practice safe medicine. Doctors and hospitals get paid to do as much as we possibly can. Therefore, we do as much as we possible can. And quantity medicine is grossly unsafe. With no real way to track quality in medicine, we will continue to kill 100,000 people per year due to avoidable errors. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” And with only 15 to 20% of all docs using computers, you can’t measure chicken scratch on paper.
98,000 lives lost each year from medical errors in 1999. 98,000 lives lost each year from medical errors in 2009.