A recent survey conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and released by the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine reveals that hospital doctors are concerned with the number of patients they are required to see during a shift. Forty percent of those surveyed admitted that they saw an unsafe number of patients at least once a month. Twenty-five percent believed that excessive patient caseloads prevented them from fully disclosing treatment options or responding to patient questions. According to the researchers, “Hospital doctors are increasingly taking on more patients to compensate for cuts in payments from health insurers, the researchers said. That workload is projected to increase as the 2010 health law expands insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans. The researchers, based at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said there is a risk that rising patient volumes may increase costs by decreasing quality.” Presently, there are no regulations regarding the number of patients a hospital doctor may safety treat during a shift. This may potentially lead to medical errors and miscommunication. As the new healthcare law is introduced, this is an area of healthcare that must be addressed in order to protect patient safety and maintain quality of care.
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