Efforts Underway to Improve Medical Patient Safety

On many occasions this blog has included calls for improvements in patient safety efforts. The number of patients killed by medical mistakes remains staggeringly high-98,000 a year according to recent reports.

Encouraging news from Modern Healthcare indicates that steps may soon be taken by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in an attempt to improve the safety of all medical patients.

One of the focuses of the initiative will involve making “best practices” for eliminating certain mistakes more widely shared among hospitals across the country.

Citing certain programs that have virtually eliminated specific medical errors at isolated hospitals, the current CMS chief administrator Dr. Donald Berwick hopes wants particularly dangerous hospitals made aware of those successful programs. The CMS head did not indicate whether the effort would involve new regulations or a grant program. However, he reiterated that patient safety measures are high on the priority list for the upcoming year.

Dr. Berwick also emphasized the role played by improving information technology. They offer coordinated tools to create patient specific care plans that may ensure better overall care. He also mentioned the use of Accountable Care Organization (ACOs) to ensure there was proper tracking of problematic medical events.

Of course, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti are well aware that there is a big difference between implementing patient safety programs and actually improving patient safety. Recent research has revealed the often disappointing results of many similar safety initiatives. The bottom line is that improvement only matters when it results in specific drop in the number of patient victims of medical mistakes.

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