Most doctors believe error-reporting systems are inadequate and, instead, discuss errors informally with colleagues, butas a resultthe physicians hospitals and healthcare organizations do not receive important information on errors and how to prevent them, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded study appearing in the January/February issue of Health Affairs.
Of the almost 1,100 physicians in Missouri and Washington state responding to a 68-question survey between July 2003 and March 2004, 56% said that they were involved with a serious medical error; 74 % with a minor error; 66% with a near miss; and 54% agreed with the statement that medical errors are usually caused by failures of care delivery systems, not failures of individuals.
Most physicians reported using an error-reporting mechanism of some kind, such as filling out an incident report or informing their risk-management department, supervisor or department chair of the error, but few believed that they had access to a reporting system that was designed to improve patient safety.
These findings led researchers to conclude that the perception of physicians being reluctant partners in reporting medical errors is inaccurate. -- by Andis Robeznieks