Better research skills can improve safety and care

OSHA Healthcare Connection, November 6, 2012

The United States has the world’s most prolific biomedical research enterprise and is home to many of the world’s most sophisticated medical facilities. Additionally, American medical education is of outstanding quality and produces some of the world’s best physicians. Yet despite our country’s renown in these categories, the outcomes of our health care system in regard to patient safety and overall quality of care have proven much less impressive.

In 2008, a Medicare data survey conducted by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services stated that 15,000 Medicare patients die each month due to the hospital care that they receive, and that nearly half of these deaths are due to preventable medical errors. The same study estimated that one in seven Medicare patients who were hospitalized had permanent negative health impacts from “adverse events” in hospitals and a similar proportion experienced temporary harms from these same causes.

The good news is that this problem has been recognized; efforts to improve patient safety (defined as “freedom from accidental injury”) have been under way in American hospitals for more than a decade — and are far from complete.

Source: The Greenville News

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