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April 6, 2005

Medical Professional Competence and Patient Safety

Wendesday mornings second presentation at MedBiquitous 2005 is Carolyn Clancy, the Director at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Carolyn is talking about patient safety and is going to tie it into how standards and IT relate to helping medical professionals not make mistakes.

Safety has become quite an issue for the public, people wanting to bring majic markers to the hospital to mark the area that's a problem so there won't be an error. Of people surveyed 1/3 have been or have a family member who've been involved in a preventable medical error.

There are some challenges in trying to solve this problem:
- adverse events are relatively rare
- since things change over time, it's difficult to isolate the key components

AHRQ has invested about $160 million since FY 2001 in a Patient Safety Initiative. Numerous initiatives undertaken, both in research and in proactive measures.

One major finding fron the research is that serious medical errors fell when interns work shifts were reduced from 30 hours to 16 hours. Chance of an accident was also twice as likely when interns were driving home after a 30-hour shift.

One of the primary findings in the research was that medical information wasn't being exchanged, and that better IT was needed to make sure medical professionals were able to access information from prior visits with physicians. A significant number of respondents indicated that during a visit the physician had to go back to the records office to try to find more information on the patient.

Presciption issue technology also needs some IT improvement.

Posted by mike at April 6, 2005 9:44 AM