Friday, December 14, 2007

Don't Tell

Doctors are human after all, so perhaps the findings from the Annals of Internal Medicine titled, "Professionalism in Medicine: Results of a National Survey of Physicians" isn't that surprising. A summary from Reuters illustrated the following:

  • 46 percent of physicians surveyed admitted they knew of a serious medical error that had been made but did not tell authorities about it.
  • 96 percent of those surveyed said they should report all instances of significant incompetence or medical errors to the hospital clinic or to authorities.
  • 85 percent of most doctors said they should tell patients or relatives about significant errors.

the reality was far different.
  • Forty percent of the doctors said they knew of a serious medical error in their hospital group or practice but 31 percent admitted they had done nothing about it at least once.
The article also found that nearly a quarter of the 1600 doctors surveyed didn't feel that periodic certification was desirable.

Conclusion? Doctors are human as well and naturally do things in their best interest. Is the lack of reporting due to a medical culture where error and omissions aren't openly talked about? Why would a good number of doctors oppose periodic re-certification? Medicine changes constantly and what was good a few years ago is no longer the standard of care. Concerning but perhaps not surprising. This behavior needs to change for significant improvement to occur in patient safety.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails