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One in Five Americans Experience Medical Errors


There are long-term consequences of medical errors on patients, including emotional distress, financial well-being, and fractured family relationships.

Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.

Study: 21 Percent of Americans Experience Medical Errors

According to a new study from the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago, 21 percent of adults report having personally experienced a medical error. Furthermore, the study found that when these errors do occur, the patient often experiences long-term consequences, including emotional distress, financial well-being, and fractured family relationships.

The nationwide survey, which included more than 2,500 adults, also found that 31 percent of Americans report knowing someone who had experienced a medical error. The survey found ambulatory settings are a common site of medical errors, and that errors related to diagnosis and patient-provider communications are the most commonly reported. In addition, the survey found that nearly half of the patients who experienced an error brought it up with the medical staff. On average, people identified seven factors that caused their medical errors.

Democrats Allege Republican Plans to Slash Medicare

According to a new report prepared by Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee, Republicans plan to cut Medicare spending by more than $470 billion in their proposed budget. Medicaid would also be cut by $1 trillion. The cuts would be used "to pay for hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America. Further, the Republican tax plan this budget calls for would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, which will likely pave the way for savage cuts to Social Security," according to the report.

A Republican aide denied the Medicare cuts, saying "Slowing the growth of Medicare will help make the program more sustainable and ensure it is able to keep providing the vital services that millions of people rely on," according to The Hill.

Patients like EHRs

According to a recent survey, the majority of healthcare providers and patients view the use of EHRs as positive. The survey also found that switching to an EHR only saved medical professionals an hour a week on the time they spend on paperwork. For the survey, SelectHub, a Denver, Colo.-based provider of technology selection management solutions, surveyed more than 1,000 patients and over 100 medical professionals asking their opinions on EHRs.

According to the survey, patients who were given better instructions on accessing EHRs, used them more than twice as frequently, and medical professionals feel that the use of EHRs increases productivity, while decreasing clerical errors. However, healthcare professionals were divided on how EHRs impacted financials at their practices.

Furthermore, healthcare professionals reported EHRs were making an average workday easier (81 percent); identifying potential issues or errors in patients' records easier (80 percent); helping with managing patient billing (77 percent) and making communicating with patients' insurance providers easier (72 percent).

Quote of the week:

Predicting the Impact of Price's Departure at HHS

"Whether you support or don't support Dr. Price, he practiced as a physician, so he can certainly relate [to physicians]….The fact he had real experience that he brought to his position in Congress as well as HHS was a good thing for physicians." – Anders Gilberg on former HHS Secretary Tom Price

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