Regulatory agencies and healthcare industry organizations could be doing a much better job of policing medical errors, but congressional intervention isn't needed to arrest the problem.
Those are among the findings of a MODERN HEALTHCARE survey conducted last month via the magazine's World Wide Web site (www.modernhealthcare.com) in partnership with ERC Dataplus, a Norwalk, Conn.-based polling and human resources technology solutions firm.
Medical errors are indeed a problem, according to the respondents. Sixty-one percent say mistakes have increased somewhat or significantly in the past 10 years. But 65% say the problem is still manageable.
Although only 40% of respondents think federal legislation is necessary to combat medical errors, 63% say error-reporting should be mandatory and 80% believe such reporting will result in more lawsuits.
When it comes to efforts aimed at preventing medical errors, the respondents give their highest marks to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations: 49% say the JCAHO's performance is "good" or "very good," and 2% rated its job "excellent." HCFA and trade groups such as the American Hospital Association didn't fare as well. About 70% rate their error-oversight efforts "poor" or "fair."
Complete results of the survey can be found at MODERN HEALTHCARE's Web site. Readers also are invited to take this month's survey: "What's Hot in Washington?"