Patient Safety Trends & Data
In honor of Patient Advocacy Week that took place April 12th – 18th the focus of this commentary will relate to patient safety and self-advocacy.
In a recent RAND report “Is Better Patient Safety Associated with Less Malpractice Activity? Evidence from California” it was found that there is a correlation between the frequency of adverse events and malpractice claims. “On average, a county that shows a decrease of 10 adverse events in a given year would also see a decrease of 3.7 malpractice claims.” What this is telling us is that there is a link between patient safety and malpractice claims. While that might not necessarily be news to some, it does put some light on the “frivolous” lawsuits. If hospitals were to concentrate on patient safety and patient education the malpractice lawsuits will (according to this report) most likely decrease.
Another article by the Wall Street Journal titled “New Focus on Averting Errors: Hospital Culture” highlights the fact that errors made by healthcare professionals cause 44,000 to 98,000 deaths per year. To combat this number hospitals are taking a surprising approach: “Not only are they trying to improve safety and reduce malpractice claims, they’re also coming up with procedures for handling – and even consoling – staffers who make inadvertent mistakes.” Hospitals are taking a proactive approach to patient safety and staffer guidance instead of waiting for a bad event to occur and then reacting.
A Personal Health Record Can Help with Safety
And now just a little information regarding Personal Health Records (PHRs) and their useful for patient safety. Having a PHR can certainly save you time and help with all the cumbersome paperwork, but having one can also save your life. Patient data is lost/mixed up etc. daily and having your own record of your health will help keep you safe. The state of California has the largest PHR adoption rate. Here is a look at the numbers:
1. 7% of adults had used a Personal Health Record (PHR)
2. California leads the nation in PHR use, at 15%
3. 58% of PHR users with two or more chronic conditions say they know more about their health care as a result, compared to 44% of those with only one or no chronic conditions
4. 48% of caregivers are interested in using a PHR for the person they care for
5. 75% worry about the privacy of PHR information
6. 40% of those who do not have a PHR express interest in using one