What Are Your Biggest Fears as a Patient?


For the second year in a row, diagnostic errors and improper management of test results in electronic health records top the list of patient safety concerns, reports the ECRI Institute, a nonprofit that provides information about medical practices and products.

These concerns aren’t unfounded, stated Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and CEO, ECRI Institute: “Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country. This guidance can help healthcare leaders and clinicians save lives.”

While the widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) allows for easier and more reliable tracking and sharing of patient health information, the technology does have limitations. Managing patient care often requires teams of medical professionals to work together using a variety of tech platforms.

The ECRI report also notes that patients are worried about the spread and treatment of infections in health care settings — from possible drug reactions to the spread of antibiotic resistance and the dangers of the serious blood infection sepsis, which affects more than a million Americans each year. Behavioral health issues are another common theme: Many patients are worried about how providers identify and manage mental health problems.

Here’s the full top-ten list of patient safety fears:

  1. Diagnostic and test result management using EHRs
  2. Antimicrobial practices in health care settings
  3. Provider burnout and its impact on safety
  4. Concerns involving mobile health technology
  5. Concerns about reducing discomfort in the handling of behavioral health issues
  6. Lapses in detecting changes in a patient’s medical condition
  7. Developing and maintaining providers' medical skills
  8. Early recognition of sepsis on all levels of health care
  9. Infections from peripheral intravenous (IV) lines
  10. Standardizing safety efforts across large health systems