As Arizona residents may know, 200,000 patients die annually because of preventable medical error. There is an effort underway to change that, but its success is often a casualty of traditional attitudes. A study published in 2005 elaborated on interactions between health care workers and documented that a layer of silence prevents mistakes from coming to light.
Doctors in Arizona and other states have slowly started acknowledging errors in patient care and admitting fault. While doctors may have previously been hesitant to discuss medical errors due to a fear of litigation or embarrassment, doctors in a 2006 survey said that patients deserved information when a mistake occurs.
Residents in Arizona may benefit from learning more about how adverse events from medical treatment are monitored and managed in the health care industry. For some time, many have ultimately viewed complications from treatment, adverse events and medical errors all as one in the same. However, more astute physicians have noted that adverse effects caused by treatment complications differ substantially from those caused by medical error.
Arizona residents may wish to know about some of the factors influencing healthcare services that many physicians may never mention unless directly prompted. Often times, patients refrain from sharing certain details about their personal health unless asked about it directly. These individuals may be at the risk of suffering serious health problems; according to prominent medical professionals, patients often benefit from acting as a partner in their own healthcare.
Studies about incorrect medical diagnoses show that doctors can make mistakes about life-threatening conditions, and one study indicated that 12 million or more misdiagnoses may occur every year. The Internet Journal of Family Practice conducted an analysis of autopsy findings and malpractice data to determine the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases. While this list is not likely to solve any mysterious medical problems Arizona residents are suffering from, it highlights the need for getting opinions from multiple doctors.
A group of doctors, professors and other healthcare advocates are calling for tracking and adequate reporting of preventable harms and deaths of patients in hospitals in Arizona and across the United States. According to a professor of public health at Harvard, patient safety has not improved since an Institute of Medicine report called for reforms to prevent patient deaths due to medical error. That report was issued 15 years ago. Many of the experts who have testified before congress have said that part of the problem is the fact that medical providers fail to do an adequate job of tracking harm.