Medical Errors Affect 21 Percent of U.S. Adults
Although most Americans report positive experiences with health care in the United States, a new survey suggests 21 percent of adults have had personal experience with medical errors. According to this survey, which involved over 2,500 adults and was recently released by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago, medical errors often have a long-term impact on patients’ physical and emotional health, finances, and family relationships.
In addition to personal experiences with medical errors, another 31 percent of U.S. adults reported that someone whose care they were closely involved with experienced a medical error. The most common errors are related to diagnoses and patient-provider communication and occur in an ambulatory setting such as a clinic, surgical center, outpatient department, or doctor’s office.
About 50 percent of patients surveyed brought the perceived medical error to the attention of a health care provider or staff member. According to most survey participants, health care providers are primarily responsible for patient safety, but patients and their families also have an important role. Survey respondents identified an average of seven different contributory factors involved in perceived medical errors.