According to a study by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), only 14% of incidents where patients are harmed by medical care ever get logged into hospital incident reporting systems. Sixty-two percent of the events didn’t make it into the systems because staff did not think they needed to be reported.
Federal regulations require that as a condition of participation in the Medicare program, hospitals must, “track medical errors and adverse patient events, analyze their causes, and implement preventative measures and mechanisms that include feedback and learning throughout the hospital.”
Apparently, none of the three organizations that accredit hospitals in the U.S. have a standardized list of reportable events and medical errors that hospitals can reference, nor did any of the 189 hospitals covered in the study have a definitive list of events that required reporting.
The OIG report stated that along with more minor “temporary-harm” events, some “adverse-harm” events that led to patient deaths – such as hospital-acquired infections and excessive bleeding caused by hospital-administered drugs – also went unreported.
Some 25% of incidents that usually get reported also did not get logged in. Hospital administrators cited time constraints or staff thinking that, “somebody else would report the incident” as possible reasons.
Making Hospitals Safe
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that 98,000 people die of hospital-acquired infections each year alone. That’s why the law firm of Farah & Farah believes it is critical that hospitals accurately track information that can be used to reduce medical errors and save lives. If you or a loved one has been harmed during a hospital stay, please call our Florida hospital malpractice attorneys at (800) 533-3555. The call is free and so is your first consultation.
Sources: http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-08-00220.pdf; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/756540