MASSDEVICE ON CALL — If medical errors were counted alongside diseases, they would be the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., taking more lives than Alzheimer’s, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Lack of transparency and patient access to information about individual hospitals’ error rates leave patients in the dark about how to choose doctors and hospitals that may offer lower risks, according to and editorial by Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Dr. Marty Makary.
Makary recommended 5 ways to provide patients a window in a hospitals working:
- Online dashboards where patients can check hospital infection, readmission and other rates.
- "Safety culture scores," rated based on anonymous surveys of hospital employees.
- Cameras in operating rooms and peer-based review and quality improvement.
- "Open notes," allowing patients to go over the notes a physician takes during an assessment to allow for fact double-checking and provision of additional comments.
- No more gag orders preventing patients from voicing negative reports about their healthcare providers.
"With more transparency – and the accountability that it brings – we can address the cost crisis, deliver safer care and improve how we are seen by the communities we serve," Makary wrote. "To do no harm going forward, we must be able to learn from the harm we have already done."
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