Preventing Medical Errors
To assume is human.
—Michael S. Smith
Medical errors have hit all-time high. Pick up a newspaper or magazine, watch TV, or talk with a friend, and you will come across messages of concern about patient safety. Browse the web and go to the National Institute of Health Web site (www.nih.gov) to confirm this immense concern.
The Leapfrog Group, composed of a number of Fortune 500 companies, has also expressed grave concerns about patient safety (www.leapfroggroup.org). They have banded together to improve health care by using their collective financial clout, promoting the development of safer practices by recommending specific practices. For example, one practice that they have supported is electronic medical-order entry. This would reduce errors from illegible handwriting and would ensure that new orders are cross-checked against a safety database.
Many causes of medical errors are preventable and within management control. This casts a different light on patient safety, because