Making Medical Error Reporting More Effective

Health industry experts recognize the physical, emotional, and financial costs of medical errors. Yet, resolving problems posed by medical errors is complex and consenus concerning how to accomplish this task is far from unanimous.
However, an article published in PhysBizTech points to three actions that would make medical error reporting less burdensome and ultimately more effective. All three of the proposed steps involving the implementation of new technology in recognizing and reporting medical mistakes. According to the author, the first step would require the evolution of electronic health records so that the records would seamlessly gather and report medical errors. Presently, electronic health records are not equipped to perform such a task. Those concerned with reporting errors must resort to an alternative (often by hand) system that weakens and burdens the system. Second, the article calls for the healthcare industry to embrace and utilize mobile technology to treat patients, monitor them, and report errors when they occur. Third, improve the reporting infrastructure so that it is readily accessible for further analysis.
The author concludes, “There is no way around it: Improving the quality and safety of the healthcare system will require transparent, consistent, and timely sharing of healthcare data for learning, analysis and understanding. Improved medical error data reporting, enabled by health IT, moves us closer to this important goal.”