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Many Hospitals Do Not Share Information On Medical Errors

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Most hospitals nationwide collect information about patient injuries or deaths that result from medical errors, but only one in five shares the data with managers and others who could implement measures to address the problems, according to a survey conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that appeared on Monday in the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. The survey included responses from risk managers at more than 1,600 hospitals nationwide.

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According to the survey, 32% of U.S. hospitals have established "supportive environments" that allow staff to report anonymously patient injuries or deaths that result from medical errors, and 13% have broad staff involvement in such reporting. The survey found that physicians often do not participate in such reporting because of concerns about liability, professional embarrassment and time requirements.

James Battles, a senior service fellow for patient safety at AHRQ, said, "The good news is that over 90% of hospitals have a formal reporting system, but the challenge is whether that information is being used to maximize learning," adding, "We still have a ways to go." Battles said, "For those of us studying event reporting, the results may not have been that surprising, but they have never been captured or documented, which makes it significant" (Stewart, Newark Star-Ledger, 12/9).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.