Reducing Hospital Medical Errors Part of Federal Plan

It’s an often overlooked aspect of the Affordable Care Act but it’s an extremely important one. As part of the healthcare overhaul, the federal government is working with hospitals to significantly reduce medical errors which could save 60,000 lives each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that one hospital patient in twenty will be the victim of a medical error. The government’s goal is to reduce these errors by 40% which would amount to approximately 60,000 patients. That’s a significant reduction in healthcare costs as well as an important increase in overall patient safety.
Oregon Public Broadcasting spoke with Diane Waldowho is the director of quality for the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “She says the feds will come up with a list of best practices — like having all doctors dress up in full sterile garb when they put in a central line.
Waldo says there are lots of ideas out there for the feds to choose from. Take this idea, for making sure nurses give the right medication to the right patient.
Waldo explained, “One hospital even put, like a red vest on the medication nurse as she went around. So everyone knew, don’t interupt Diane because she’s giving medications. So don’t ask her about 16 other things.”
Hospitals are even putting up white boards in each patient’s room — so their medical issues are in plain sight and there don’t have to be innumerable conversations as shifts change.”