PATIENT SAFETY: Eternal Vigilance Required - Healthcare organizationscontinue to focus on medical errors and patient safety issues.
No one wants to make mistakes, especially not physicians and hospitals. After all, protecting the safety of patients is a natural prerequisite to helping them recover. Nonetheless, the complexities of the modern healthcare system make flawless patient care a difficult but worthy goal. Several layers of care can conspire to complicate even the most straightforward decisions, such as making the correct diagnosis or prescribing the right medications. According to the now-famous 1999 Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System, errors cause as many as 98,000 deaths in hospitals every year, of which some 7,000 are related to meedication errors. Physicians often relay orders through countless layers of bureaucracy, making it possible for even simple directions to mutate along the way. Of course, increased awareness in the medical community - as well as technology such as electronic databasing and Web-based applications - are helping to streamline processes. Still, the following data shows that eternal vigilance remains key to reducing medical errors and improving patient safety.
[I] Unable to copy many diagrams/ algorithms. Effective 1/1/03, JCAHO will annually annouce 6 patient safety goals with survey on compliance.
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