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Patients Believe Tech Can Fix Medical Errors, says Survey

August 20, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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A recent study by Wolters Kluwer Health found that Americans are increasingly confident in healthcare technology to reduce medical mistakes. The survey, conducted by research firm IPSOS, found that at of 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older, 68 percent say that as the medical field continues to adopt new technologies, medical errors should decrease.

In addition, of the survey’s respondents, 30 percent said that either they or a family member or friend have experienced a medical mistake. These kinds of mistakes include being given the wrong medication, dosage or treatment. In addition, more than one in five Americans report having been misdiagnosed by their doctor and nearly half, 45 percent, report having received an incorrect bill from their healthcare provider.

While most, 73 percent, say they are concerned about medical errors and nearly half, 45 percent, report being “very concerned” about such errors, there is still faith in technology to fix these problems. Dr. Linda Peitzman, CMO at Wolters Kluwer Health, said in a statement. “Clinical decision support tools can play a significant role in reducing instances of medical errors and improving communication among parties involved in a patient’s care. Studies have shown that hospitals that adopt certain clinical decision support systems experience shorter hospital lengths of stay, reduced mortality rates and overall improvements in quality of care.”

More than one-third of Americans (35 percent) cite miscommunication among hospital staff as the top reason why medical errors occur. The next most common reasons cited include doctors and nurses being in a hurry (26 percent), staff being fatigued (14 percent), and hospitals experiencing staffing shortages (12 percent). The majority of respondents, 84 percent, say they have taken some type of action as a patient to help reduce the possibility of errors when it comes to their own healthcare.

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