Emergency Rooms the Most Common Source of Diagnostic Errors in New York
On behalf of Kammholz Law PLLC posted in Emergency Room Negligence on Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
Diagnostic errors make up between 37 and 55 percent of all malpractice claims. Most of these mistakes take place in hospital emergency rooms. These errors cost medical malpractice insurers over $1 billion annually. Instead of continually paying out for their mistakes, hospitals are now taking steps to address the causes of these errors. The two most common reasons for diagnostic errors are lack of access to information and lack of communication between doctors and nurses. either by failing to provide test results or misreading tests, are a leading cause of mistakes. This frequently leads to doctors making decisions about a patient’s care without having all of the critical information that is needed. Ironically, the use of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), which are supposed to aid the flow of information, may actually hinder it. Emergency room employees enter pertinent information into the EMR database, but don’t bother to communicate the information verbally to their colleagues in the emergency room. Other sources of diagnostic errors are an inadequate medical history of the patient as well as missing or lost information. Records of abnormal vital signs and misplacing critical information during a shift change could have hospital in lawsuit. To address these communication errors, hospitals are initiating changes to their procedures such as “the huddle” or “time-out”. The huddle is an effort to ensure that all critical information is available to the entire team when treating a patient. The time-out empowers nurses to step-in and suspend the discharge process if they have reason to believe something is being missed. Source: Dark Daily, “Hospitals Take Steps to Drive Down Medical Errors in Their Emergency Departments
,” 7 September 2011, Pamela Scherer McLeod