Hypertension has long been known as “the silent killer.” I agree that hypertension is a very serious condition that affects many people including myself and my family. But the real silent killer in the United States is death due to medical errors. Every single day we hear, read, and see information on how to eat a healthy diet to reduce the risk of heart disease, and we are bombarded with ads on television. But rarely do we ever hear about deaths due to preventable medical errors. And personally I can attest to the devastation that a medical error can have on a family. My grandmother passed away as a result of a very preventable medical error, and there are too many in this country with a similar story.
Earlier this week a study came out of Johns Hopkins that shines some light on the problem. This Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. That makes preventable medical errors third on the CDC's official list, just behind heart disease and cancer. There are more deaths due to medical errors than COPD (4th), suicide (5th), and firearms (6th) combined.
(Image from USA Today) This study from Johns Hopkins comes as no surprise to myself or others in the healthcare. In 1999 the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine estimated that there are 98,000 deaths attributed to medical errors. In 2010 the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general reported that 180,000 Medicare patients alone died from medical errors. And in 2013 a NASA toxicologist reported that between 210,000-440,000 Americans die from preventable medical errors every year.
And if that’s not bad enough, according to The Journal of Patient Safety an additional 2,000,000 - 4,000,000 patients have adverse effects from medical errors!
Okay, if you’ve read this far you get it. You’ve probably even heard some of these statistics in passing, but it’s a tremendous problem that needs to be addressed. And when we put serious thought into the matter we realize that “preventable medical errors” is quite vague. What are these preventable medical errors anyway?
According to Dr. Martin Makay and Dr. Michael Daniel from Johns Hopkins the most common reasons of preventable medical errors are:
1. Adverse drug events
2. I.V. and catheter-related infections
3. Injuries from falls and immobility
4. Adverse events during childirth
5. Surgical site infections
"Patients don't just die of heart plaques, and bacteria, they can also die from communication breakdowns and medication errors. System level problems are almost ubiquitous in healthcare. -Dr. Martin Makary - Co-Author and surgeon at Johns Hopkins
There is a lot of room for improvement in the way of patient safety and improving the quality of care in the United States. We have the best and the brightest medical providers in the U.S.- my wife being one of them. But these medical providers need to be equipped with the right information at the point of care.
At PHR Plus we’re in the business of saving lives, and reducing medical errors by making that lifesaving information accessible at the point of care. We can’t solve for every preventable error. Our solution does empower individuals with all of their health and medical information. It allows the patient to bring this information with them wherever they go. And using PHR Plus patients can share critical information their medical providers in emergent and non-emergent situations.
PHR Plus connects patients to their medical data, and to their medical providers. This approach will improve outcomes and prevent medical errors.
If you're in the healthcare industry and you want to know more about our solution, click Here to learn more. Don't be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.