Hospital Errors: How Much Do You Care?
Before you are admitted to a hospital or seek treatment at an ER, do you check to see what the hospital’s rate of medical errors is?
Probably not. Here in California, the Department of Public Health is supposed to track and make public the rate of certain medical errors at hospitals.
A new report in today’s SF Chronicle says the state has left the public “in the dark” about these statistics. The hospitals have not done a good job in reporting the statistics and the state has not made what data it has accessible to the public.
I’d like to point out that it is hard for many hospitals – especially those without electronic medical records – to keep track of these statistics. In many cases, it means having a technician review stacks of paper charts looking for specific numbers or test results.
The top priority for most hospitals is getting paid. So at many institutions the billing system (which is not necessarily a good tool for tracking medical errors) has the most advanced technology.
The SF Chronicle article is available at