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Better communication appears to be key to reducing doctor errors

On behalf of Izzo Law Office posted in Hospital Negligence on Friday, November 21, 2014.

Hospitals here in New York have the capabilities to treat a large number of health conditions, illnesses and diseases. That is one of the reasons that patients entrust their health to the medical professionals at these hospitals, often without thinking twice about it. Unfortunately, doctor errors and mistakes can happen, even by the most well-known physiciansat a state-of-the-art hospital.

One of the reasons for these doctor errors is due to improper communication between doctors rather than just the doctor and the patient. In fact, it is reported that roughly 80 percent of grave medical errors are caused by poor communication — sometimes by no communication at all. This is particularly true when the doctors are switching shifts.

Just like nurses, outgoing physicians provide the incoming doctors with patient reports. This report outlines the patient’s symptoms, initial diagnosis, ordered tests, test results and anything else that is relevant to the patient’s case. Unfortunately, not all information is properly relayed between doctors, which can result in numerous medical errors.

Luckily, a group of researchers and physicians have created a program called I-PASS, which involves computer training, role playing, electronic health information and more. It is designed to help doctors increase the safety of patients without adding too much workload. A study was investigated the effectiveness of this program at several medical institutions across the country. The results showed that a standardized process like this can significantly reduce errors by roughly 30 percent.

This is excellent news for New York patients. However, the fact of the matter is still that doctor errors can occur, even with this streamlined process. Unfortunately, these errors can lead to devastating and life-changing injuries. Under these circumstances, patients may be able to file a claim for financial compensation to assist with financial, emotional and physical burdens that occurred as a result of the error. In those circumstances where the error resulted in a fatality, the surviving family may be entitled to commence a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit

Source:¬†news.wustl.edu, “Medical errors drop with improved communication during hospital shift changes“, Nov. 5, 2014