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Mistakes Revealed in Family Practice Clinics

A recent study funded by the non-profit Agency for Health Research and Quality revealed an "unacceptable" level of healthcare mistakes at a sampling of family practice clinics. A total of 966 errors were found in a 32-week period among eight clinics that volunteered to participate in the study. 

Many Types of Medical Errors

The errors were classified in a number of ways, including whether they had adverse consequences (yes, in 74 percent of the error reports) and whether physical or emotional harm to a patient was reported in connection the error (which did indeed happen in 18 percent of the errors). Other findings regard the types of errors and their frequency, including: 

  • ordering the wrong test — 1.1 percent of all errors
  • failure to perform the ordered test — 6.7 percent
  • losing specimens — 2.4 percent
  • failing to enter results on a patient's chart — 5.3 percent
  • failure to report results in a timely way — 6 percent
  • results never reaching the clinic office — 5.4 percent
  • incomplete reporting — 5.1 percent
  • failure to report results to the ordering clinician — 4.8 percent 

Delays in Care, Steps to Mitigate Unacceptable Too

The researchers also found that: 

  • errors led to delays in care 24 percent of the time
  • 11 percent of the errors produced pain and suffering
  • steps to mitigate the errors were taken in 21 percent of the cases 

The study's main author, John Hickner, M.D., of the University of Chicago, stated, "Since many errors are undetected or unreported, we can assume this is an extreme lower bound." 

(Source: www.medpagetoday.com

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