Monday, March 22, 2010

HHS Inspector General Finds Medical Error Reporting Problems

The Houston Chronicle reported, "The hospital data currently available in some states" may be "flawed by content gaps, inputting errors, failures by hospitals to conform to data-entry standards, and inadequate government oversight of the data collection process." In early March, "the sad state of medical error reporting, and the frequency of errors, was underlined in a report the Inspector General of the federal Department of Health and Human Services" in which "the IG investigated 278 hospitalizations in two undisclosed counties," uncovering "120 problematic 'events' in which patients were harmed either permanently or temporarily." However, the hospitals involved had performed "incidents reports on only eight of the 120 cases," even missing two of three reported fatality cases. The "two biggest obstacles to finding errors are inadequate hospital data and poor internal tracking of medical errors by the hospitals themselves." Read the IG's report here.

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