As preventable medical errors continue to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States, patient advocates explore ways to improve safety – and eliminate errors. In fact, statistics show that nearly 250,000 medical errors occur each year – making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer. While some of the errors are more easily identified and tracked – such as prescription errors, hospital acquired infections and surgical errors – others are more nebulous such as communication failures and poor communication.
At some hospitals, efforts have been made to reduce the number of medical errors, and lessen the amount of medical malpractice that occurs. Adding to the concerns, one of the methods aimed at reducing errors – more electronic medical record keeping – has added to the stress. A recent article discussed efforts at improving patient safety by decreasing burnout. A study revealed that the more doctors suffer burnout, the higher the incidence of medical errors. One area that has led to increased burnout is the amount of time required to spend on the computer. Statistics show that doctors often spend 2 hours on the computer for every one seeing patients. As a representative from the Cleveland Clinic noted, “Burnout decreases productivity and increases errors."
One way to address this is to invest in “wellness” programs at hospitals that seek to address signs of burnout and provide outlets such as yoga classes, meditation and gardening. Regardless of the cause of medical mistakes it is important to take a hard look at our medical system and take steps to eliminate the epidemic of medical mistakes and malpractice.
For more information or if you have been harmed by a medical error, please contact the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson LLP for an immediate consultation.