Tips for preventing medical errors

Did you know that medical errors are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the U.S.? According to a report conducted by the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 98,000 people die in hospitals every year from medical errors that could have been easily avoided. As the leader of your health care practice, it is important to streamline an efficient workflow that always keeps the safety of the patient in mind. That means being on the same page as all of your colleagues, properly making use of electronic health records and understanding exactly why your patients are in need of care.

To keep the reputation of your practice to a respected standard, you need to understand how crucial it is to prevent medical errors. Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of medical errors happening while you lead your colleagues:

Keep your team well informed
By using electronic health records, your health care team will have a clear understanding of exactly what needs to be known about a certain patient. You will be able to streamline information such as current health standings, medications and prescription notifications to keep the entire practice well informed. Make certain your patients are sharing all necessary personal health information so that the workflow is intact in case a different doctor needs to step in. Family Doctor said this is one of the easiest ways to protect your patients from experiencing medical errors.

Encourage your patients to ask questions
The New York State Department of Health suggested asking your patients if they have any questions in regard to their health care services. Also, encourage them to speak up in a moment of uncertainty. They have the right to be properly informed during each and every step of their care. If they happen to reiterate an explanation that wasn't properly communicated at an earlier time, you'll be able to fix the problem and prevent medical errors for occurring.

Perfect your handwriting
If you are still in the process of implementing electronic health records and you are still writing out your patients prescriptions, make sure your handwriting is legible. If your patient can not read your handwriting, the chances of the pharmacist being able to read it is slim, noted the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This could cause a medical error in filling a prescription, which could ultimately harm the patient.

Communicate post-hospital plans
If your patients are required to stay overnight at your practice, make sure you communicate post-hospital stay treatment. It is very important that your patients understand when they should schedule follow-up appointments as well as the time they can go back to regular everyday activities. By neglecting to share this kind of information, you could be putting your patients at risk for not healing in a timely matter. This could also cause more severe medical issues that put them right back in the hospital. Always communicate with your patients to keep this from happening. 


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