Hospitals look for new ways to prevent human errors

It is estimated that human error leads to 44,000 to 98,000 hospital deaths each year. Medication errors injure an additional 1.3 million patients according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The Wall Street Journal reports that hospitals are looking at new ways to prevent these errors, including consoling staff involved in errors, and involving them in the investigation of what went wrong if their behavior was not found to be reckless or intentional.

Some hospitals are using the Just Culture Model, which stresses finding a middle ground between attributing all errors to system failure rather than an individual, and a culture where individuals are blamed for all mistakes. This model encourages teaching hospital staff about the importance of safety procedures, such as hand washing and checking to ensure they are administering the proper medication in order to reduce medical errors.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, March 16; The Wall Street Journal, http://wsj.com, March 16, 2010)