Reducing Medical Errors with Improved Communication, EHR Use

Kyle Murphy | EHR Intelligence | June 6, 2016

EHR use can help prevent medical errors only when lines of communication are open and reliable.

The revelation that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States sent unsettling reverberations through the healthcare industry last week, but the news is likely only the tip of the iceberg and much more must be done to address this growing health issue.

Researchers Martin Makary and Michael Daniel recently published findings in BMJ revealed that deaths caused by medical error numbered more than 250,000 annually — making medical error a leading cause of death only behind heart disease (611k) and cancer (585k) — and are likely higher as a result of system-wide under-reporting.

"To achieve more reliable healthcare systems, the science of improving safety should benefit from sharing data nationally and internationally, in the same way as clinicians share research and innovation about coronary artery disease, melanoma, and influenza," they wrote. Sound scientific methods, beginning with an assessment of the problem, are critical to approaching any health threat to patients," Makary & Daniel continued...