How to Overcome a Medical Error

Surgeon at medical facility

Did you know that when clinicians make a medical error, it will force them likely to suffer burnout, depression, and even suicide?

What Happens When A Medical Error Is Made?

Immediately after a medical error is made, physicians should follow protocol. According to various healthcare organizations, medical errors should be handled with “transparency”. This will not only benefit the patient and their families, but also medical students, physicians and teaching hospitals – overall improving patient safety. For some this may seem implausible. But research has shown that being transparent and taking accountability can actually save hospitals, patients, and families years of litigation.

Communication and Resolution Program (CRP):

One communication and resolution program (CRP) that has been adopted in over 200 healthcare organizations since 2017 is by the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). This program is focused on confronting/handling medical errors, improving patient safety, and targets four key areas:

1. Early reporting and analysis of adverse events

2. Full explanations for patients and families

3. Emotional support for health care professionals involved in the mishap

4. Apologies and compensation to patients when the hospital is at fault

This approach has successfully reduced the number of liability claims and lawsuits, lowered legal costs and settlement amounts, and has allowed healthcare organizations to save when it comes to malpractice costs. Today, the leading cause of death and disability is medical errors. Therefore, healthcare organizations must remember that having a CRP, protocol, or policy in place to tackle medical errors is key.

Other Ways To Build A "Safe Culture" For Patients:

Aside CRPs, there are other ways in which healthcare organizations can build a safe culture for patients. Healthcare organizations can: leverage the CANDOR Toolkit developed by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research, which helps hospitals set up programs to respond to medical errors; establish patient safety camps; establish trainings on how to disclose medical errors to patients and their families, and even develop a guide, which can help examine and overcome the medical error. However, your healthcare organization decides to tackle medical errors, it’s important to remember that the overall goal is to build accountability, build a “safe culture” for patients, and alleviate guilt from physicians and nurses.

Click here to download MASC Medical’s “Overcoming a Medical Error [GUIDE]”.

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