NO SAFETY IMPROVEMENT
RATES OF ERRORS AMONG HOSPITALIZED PEOPLE AREN’T DECLINING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
In spite of increased vigilance, medical errors among hospitalized patients haven’t declined between 2002 and 2007, a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine found. This failure to improve was seen in a range of hospital types in North Carolina. Michele Bellantoni, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, thinks she may understand why.
BELLANTONI: Part of it is we improve once we start collecting data and recognize a target. We can make improvements in that specific target, but medical care is multifaceted, it’s the weakest link theory is what I would tell you. For example, in our hospital we greatly reduced the risk of central line infections, but central line infections are a very small part of the overall care of patients. We in fact may end up with a fall because of multiple medicines but the person didn’t get an infection from their central line. So in the end we still have an error but not the error we were focusing all our attention. :34
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.