+1 (817) 546-4770

Medical Errors and Importance of Reporting Research Paper

Academic Anxiety?

Get an original paper within hours and nail the task

156 experts online

Abstract

This study advances reporting medical errors as a viable approach towards the prevention of medical errors. Its recommendations are based on the fact that the existent of unproductive culture of secrecy slows down efforts to eliminate medical errors and conceals the overall goal of improving health care systems. This paper also identifies that reporting medical errors will induce a culture of responsibility among health care practitioners; based on the fact that medical errors can be contained through the introduction of a responsible culture. Despite medical systems being partially to blame for the increased incidence of medical errors, a short-term solution therefore lies in the judgment of health care practitioners to report medical errors.

We will write a custom Research Paper on Medical Errors and Importance of Reporting specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page

804 certified writers online

Learn More
Introduction

Up until five years ago, medical errors were not such a widely known issue in the medical profession. Studies done by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) exposed this issue by identifying that American patients who died due to complications developed from medical errors were slated at between 44,000 and 98,000 annually (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). Most of these complications were preventable. Medical errors are now among the leading causes of death in America, with studies estimating that it may be the fifth or eighth killer factor among American patients (even surpassing other killer diseases such as AIDS, Breast Cancer and traffic deaths) (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010).

Medical Errors

Fatal medical errors occur at the rate of 5% to 10% of all inpatient admissions in American hospitals (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). This prevalence rate is however feared to be much higher because statistics do not encompass unreported deaths caused by medical errors outside the hospital. Some experts have pointed out that the problem lies in the systems in use as opposed to the staff who work in the systems (Farley, 2008, p. 416). Evidence is advanced by reports projecting that less than 3% of hospitals in America are yet to adopt the computerized method of drug ordering systems for example (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). To make matters worse, the rate of awareness of the effects of medical errors even within the medical fraternity is alarmingly low, with recent research studies done by the Kaiser Family Foundation noting that less than 5% of physicians in America believed that medical errors were a leading medical concern (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). These statistics show that there is much more to be done to reduce the fatal effects of medical errors. This paper therefore proposes reporting medical errors as a viable approach in reduction of medical errors.

Advantages of Medical Errors

It is predictably true that there are not many advantages associated with medical errors. However, the occurrence of medical errors can be viewed as ground for the improvement of a hospital’s capacity to respond to unanticipated outcomes and events. This is not only likely to increase the quality of health care but also improve the level of trust that hospital staff and patients share. The occurrence of medical errors can also increase the level of flexibility regarding policies and procedures that hospitals, health authorities and professionals need to achieve consistency in handling unprecedented medical errors.

Also, the frequent occurrence of medical errors can potentially lead to the development of an ideally safe medical environment because it is likely to bring all stakeholders together in solving the problem. A culture whereby medical workers will be free to share their concerns regarding the actual and potential effects of lurking medical errors will therefore be developed (Clancy, 2008, pp. 318-319). In addition, if medical errors have serious implications, health care workers will be forced to learn from their own mistakes.

Disadvantages of Medical Errors

Common in the event of a medical error is the increased likelihood of lawsuits to the hospital. This often occurs when the patient goes out of his/her way to find a solution to the problem if they are under the impression that health care providers are not adequately catering for their needs. This is often through legal means. If cases of medical errors increase in a given hospital, the institution loses public trust and eventually suffers an image crisis. In worse situations, a hospital may be closed down.

However in a contemporary situation, medical errors have been observed to cause serious physical and psychological effects on its victims. Most often than not, these effects are usually accidental and some even occur out of negligence. In extreme situations, fatalities have occurred either by the administration of wrong treatments or through observation of wrong medical procedures. Some patients have had their lives change because of permanent physical damages to their bodies like loss of limb functionalities while serious medical errors have even caused some patients to slip into commas. These disadvantages are just a tip of the iceberg but the effects of medical errors are more extensive than previously thought. Unfortunately, some of them are concealed by medical personnel (Clancy, 2008, pp. 318-319).

Get your 100% original paper on any topic done
in as little as 3 hours
Learn More
My Position

The true impact of medical errors has been traditionally hindered by secrecy and the fear of reprisal. Reporting medical errors can however change this trend because such errors will be handled in a dignified manner. This will also help in instilling a sense of responsibility among health care workers; eventually reducing the prevalence of medical errors and improving the process of error prevention. This strategy should however be supported by patients, health care workers and hospital administrators for its eventual success (Clancy, 2007, p. 65).

Counter Argument

History notes that medical practitioners are usually embroiled in the dark culture of blame games and shaming incidences which have later led to the development of a culture of secrecy and the fear to be reprieved. Many health care workers therefore often identify that the last person to “touch the patient” was the probable cause of a medical error. With this kind of culture in existence, resistance is likely to be noted if an error reporting system is to be adopted because many healthcare workers are still plagued with the fear of imminent consequences if they report their mistakes to patients or relevant authorities. Additionally, an error reporting system is likely to take a long time before its benefits are comprehensively realized. It is also biased in the sense that it can effectively curb errors brought about by individual mistakes as opposed to mistakes brought about by system errors.

Resolution

Contrary to popular opinion, it is prudent to disclose errors because research studies have shown that patients often want to know what factors transpire before a given error occurs (Health Quality Council of Alberta, 2006). An emphasis on patients is especially identified because reporting medical errors is categorically beneficial to the patients in particular. A great majority of patients are therefore observed to be satisfied with the reporting of medical errors alone. This system gives more power to the patients because reporting medical errors requires health care workers to brief patients and authorities on everything that occurs before and after the detection of an error. This approach therefore gives patients power to determine the course of events after the detection of an error. Additionally, it creates a comprehensive process whereby patients, health care workers and hospital administrators are included in the betterment of medical error reporting systems. Moreover, this approach enhances ethical conduct in the organization because it is based on firm ethical principles supposed to be undertaken by all health care centers.

Advanced Practice Nurses’ Roles Affected

One of the primary roles of a healthcare worker is to offer emotional support to patients in the course of treatment. However, with the adoption of a medical reporting system, this role will be reversed since the workers will require emotional support if they report errors that have adverse consequences on their part. Supporting the health care worker will therefore help health care workers cope better with the adverse consequences. Reporting medical errors also requires health care workers to be knowledgeable about systems in identification, management and reporting of medical errors. This may have role implications because it will be an additional task vested on health workers who may require extra training to carry out the duties.

Conclusion

Reporting medical errors has been traditionally hindered by secrecy and the fear of reprisal. This paper identifies the importance of why such errors should be reported and handled in a dignified manner. Instilling a sense of responsibility among health care workers will reduce the prevalence of medical errors and consequently improve the process of error prevention. This strategy should however be supported by patients, health care workers and hospital administrators for its eventual success. Conclusively, reporting medical errors has a potential high success rate if hospitals can endure its challenges.

References

Clancy, C. (2007). Putting the Patient in Patient Safety. Journal of Patient Safety 3(2), 65-66.

Clancy, C. (2008). New Patient Safety Organizations Lower Roadblocks to Medical Error Reporting. American Journal of Medical Quality, 23, 318-321.

We will write a custom Research Paper on Medical Errors and Importance of Reporting specifically for you!
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Learn More

Farley, D. (2008). Adverse Event Reporting Practices by U.S. Hospitals: Results of a National Survey. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 17(6), 416-423.

Health Quality Council of Alberta. (2006). Disclosure of Harm to Patients and Families. Web.

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2010). Background Brief. Web.

Need an essay written specifically to meet your requirements?

Choose skilled experts on your subject and get an original paper within your deadline

156 experts online

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Tips and Tricks from our Blog

11174 Introduction To Management

Free Samples 11174 Introduction To Management .cms-body-content table{width:100%!important;} #subhidecontent{ position: relative; overflow-x: auto; width: 100%;} 11174 Introduction

Read More »