One in five Americans experienced medical errors

A SURVEY of 2,536 US adults found that, although the large majority of Americans have reported positive healthcare experiences, 21 per cent report having personally experienced a medical error.

Furthermore, 31 per cent of those surveyed reported that someone else whose care they were closely involved with experienced an error.

The survey was conducted between May 12 and June 26, 2017 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation (IHI/NPSF) Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago. It also found that medical errors "have lasting impact on the patient's physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family relationships".

The most commonly reported errors in the survey related to diagnosis and patient-provider communications, and ambulatory settings were frequently cited as the site where the medical errors occurred. In addition, nearly half of those who perceived that a medical error had occurred alerted medical personnel or staff, and most respondents acknowledged that patients and families play a role in patient safety, although they perceived that healthcare providers bear the primary responsibility.

According to Linda K. Kenney, President, Medically Induced Trauma Support Services, "The fact that many people who experienced an error spoke up about it confirms that patients and families are vital to informing health care organizations about harm and how to prevent it in the future."

Source: ECRI