Study Finds Regional Hospitals Often Are Better At Preventing Medical Errors Than Academic Centers – Kaiser Health News

This post was authored by Brian Nash and posted to The Eye Opener on January 31st, 2010.

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Wonder how places like Johns Hopkins and George Washington University Medical Center feel about this observation:  Study Finds Regional Hospitals Often Are Better At Preventing Medical Errors Than Academic Centers – Kaiser Health News?

One item of concern – other than the obvious failure to prevent medical errors at all medical facilities – are the comments of the medical students from Harvard Medical School who wrote an essay in the New York Times in which they acknowledged their unique position to observe and correct medical errors and their confusion about why this was not a focus of attention in the curriculum of medical schools in this country.

Have our medical schools lost perspective?  It’s wonderful for these extremely bright men and women to learn how to make a diagnosis, what tests to order and how to interpret them and all the other wonderful skills our medical training institutions offer.  However, ignoring the principle message relating to minimizing medical errors and patient safety contained in a report  written more than 10 years ago is disheartening.

Since the publication of the well-known Institute of Medicine reportin 1999 estimating that medical errors kill as many as 98,000 people a year, the topic has become part of the national conversation. More recently, a study in The New England Journal of Medicine and a new book, “The Checklist Manifesto,” by Dr. Atul Gawande (Metropolitan Books, 2009), have testified to the efficacy of surgical checklists and the value of encouraging all members of a surgical team to speak up about potential sources of error.

But so far, the conversation has been slow to trickle down to medical schools.

2008 survey by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits United States medical schools, reported that two-thirds of medical schools mentioned patient safety in a required course, with an average of two sessions on the topic.

But another survey of 391 medical students by the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement found that four out of five felt their exposure to the topics of patient safety and quality improvement had been fair at best. And Dr. David Davis, senior director for continuing education and performance improvement at the Association of American Medical Colleges, told us there was “still some debate” about how and when to teach this material.

They’re confused on ‘how and when to teach this material’?  Try each and every course.

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