Saturday, October 12, 2013
Who is Responsible for Patient's Safety
Your Telling it to The Choir
Dr. Bob Wachter wrote in his blog Wachter’s World about the recent conference in Chicago on diagnostic errors. Dr. Mark Graber, a trusted physician and advisor to PULSE of NY for many, many years has been passionate about diagnostic errors in medicine since I have known him. He founded the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. The only thing I think Dr. Graber is almost as passionate about is disclosure to the patient and / or their family when something goes wrong.
There are a few good, no great medical professionals like Dr. Wachter and Dr. Graber out there who are passionate about patient’s safety. Some, because of their own experience and some because their fear that their number may be up soon. With numbers like the recent study that there are as many as 400,000 deaths in hospitals due to preventable medical errors it seems to be only a matter of time that everyone will experience either an unplanned outcome to themselves, a friend or family member.
What I don’t get is why are there constantly conferences for medical professionals to learn better ways of doing things. There is some improvement, but the focus needs to be more on the public. When the public learns what WE are supposed to expect, we can start expecting no less.
A recent program I did for the community of about 20 people brought together a mix of homemakers, business people and blue collar workers. They were learning for the first time that things can go terribly wrong in hospitals. I am careful to explain that for every “bad” thing that happens, there are thousands of good outcomes too. But, would our government and medical societies be pumping patient safety money into a system that works? I just fear it’s being pumped into the wrong place!
Here is something that can be done: Cautious Patient Communities