For most employees in New Mexico, collaborating with colleagues helps to improve your productivity and reduces errors. However, in most hospitals there is no forum for staff members to tell their peers about mistakes they’ve made. Working together to solve problems may reduce cases of hospital negligence.
In an attempt to reduce the frequency of errors, one hospital has begun publishing information about all of its medical errors in an employee newsletter. Some hospital executives were skeptical of the idea at first, fearing that information would leak to the public and lead to more medical malpractice lawsuits. However, the employee newsletter may help medical staff members work together to prevent future medical errors. Some staff members may feel reassured that others might learn from the errors they’ve made. Although staff members are encouraged to report medical errors, they rarely find out about any actions the hospital has taken to prevent the errors from reoccurring.
It is still unclear whether publishing the information has lowered the rate of medical errors at the hospital. If the employee newsletter proves successful, other hospitals across the country may adopt the same practice. To protect patients’ and caregivers’ privacy, all names are removed from the reports, which are posted on the employee intranet. The hospital plans to distribute printed copies of the newsletter to employees, which could be more easily intercepted by patients and their family members.
Hopefully, more transparency among hospital staff members will prevent hospital errors. It is important for victims of hospital errors and their family members to report any incidents of wrongdoing. They may also want to seek the help of an attorney.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Brigham and Women’s airing medical mistakes,” Liz Kowalczyk, April 9, 2013