Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Could Electronic Medical Records Reduce Medical Errors
One of the major things that hospitals can do to ensure your safety as a patient is to keep careful track of possible errors. No one wants to make an error especially in a hospital setting with patient lives are on the line but if these errors can be measured and people can learn from them similar mistakes can be prevented. But according to a study from the University of Utah in the journal health affairs current tracking measures including a self reporting system are not catching the majority of errors. The University of Utah uses a technique called the global trigger tool which measures errors. Their system was able to identify 354 errors compared to only 39 with the other systems that are more traditional. This means that 90% of mistakes were missed. A review of the study shows that many of these mistakes were not major errors nor do they necessarily cause patients significant harm but the point is we need better ways to monitor errors across the board. It is hoped that as electronic medical records become more part of patient care many of these errors to be picked up earlier.