Incident reports and patient complaints at Massachusetts hospitals rose 76% from fiscal 1996 through 2003, according to the state Department of Public Health. The department attributed the increase to improved incident reporting and increased consumer awareness of quality issues. Patient falls were the most commonly reported incident, accounting for 378 of a total of 757 incident reports received by the department in 2003. Of 571 consumer complaints, 73 were related to quality of nursing services -- the most common patient complaint -- and 55 were related to quality of medical care. The department said several initiatives are under way in Massachusetts to research and prevent medical errors, including a state-backed clearinghouse for patient safety education, training and best practices. -- by Jeff Tieman
Mass. says incident reporting, awareness rising
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