By Joe Messa
In our last four medical malpractice blog posts, we discussed Wall Street Journal article, How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us. The article, authored by Dr. Marty Makary, appeared in The Wall Street Journal on September 22, 2012 and offered five suggestions that Dr. Makary believes will help to facilitate patient safety.
First, online dashboards are suggested as a means for patients to be able to access information about a hospital or physician office that they are considering for care. Having information about the facility and the doctor’s past performance would allow patients to make better, more informed decisions about their healthcare. Next, he recommends that organizations look at their internal factors that could affect safety by finding out what their “safety culture score” is and looking for ways to improve upon it. Safety culture scores would assess the comfort level of hospital employees and their thoughts about their ability to speak up if they feared a medical error had or was about to occur. Dr. Makary then promotes the use of cameras to monitor behavior of medical professional and hospital staff. The obvious benefit of cameras is that it would create a visual record for review. In case of a medical error or any other question, someone would be able to see exactly what went wrong and others would then be able to learn from that. His fourth idea is the use of an open notes system between patients and their physician. Allowing patients to read their doctor’s notes about them makes them an active part of the process and also gives them the chance to ask questions about anything they don’t understand or point out any errors.
Finally, we will examine Dr. Makary’s last recommendation to improve healthcare—no more gagging. Offering transparency when there has been a medical error is crucial. Often when a patient is injured, the thought is to keep it as quiet as possible. Even in cases where some type of settlement is reached, confidentiality is frequently a part of the agreement. This does not promote learning and patient trust. Both of these things are critical in making the needed changes in healthcare. Openness about a medical error creates the opportunity for both medical professionals and patients to have a greater awareness about issues that can affect the safety of patients.
Together these five concepts can help to address some of the issues patients and doctors face in healthcare and improve the ability for doctors to learn from each other in order to provide the best care to their patients.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving medical malpractice cases resulting from medical errors, including failure to diagnose or treat a condition, medication mistakes, incorrect surgeries or other instances of medical malpractice. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical experts are dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of a medical error or any other negligent care received by a medical provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More