New Internet System to Track Medical Errors
A new Internet-based system designed to track medical errors has been launched at five of the medical centers belonging to the University of California. By installing the system, the UC centers join a growing number of major health care providers turning to technology to help reduce errors.
The UC’s system will monitor trends in medication errors such as administering the wrong drug or dosage. It also establishes a “harm score system” for evaluating each error and comparing it with others.
A report from the Institute of Medicine three years ago estimated that between 48,000 and 98,000 fatal medical errors occur every year in the nation’s hospitals. The UC project is believed to be the first that links academic medical centers on a systemwide basis through the Internet.
While the new UC system will not be accessible to patients, Dr. Lee Hilborne, director of the UCLA Center for Patient Safety and Quality, says patients may make suggestions and notify medical authorities if they experience or witness medical errors or “near misses.”
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