Hospitals are taking steps to reduce errors in Emergency Departments, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
According to the article, Emergency Rooms are among the top departments faced with malpractice lawsuits in the U.S. Diagnostic errors account for 37% – 55% of these claims. In almost all of these cases, physicians were missing essential pieces of patient information, which include missing medical history, missing records of abnormal vital signs, a lack of timely access to radiology or lab reports, or information not communicated between shift changes or between doctors and nurses.
Crico/RMF Strategies is working on a project with 16 Emergency Rooms to improve communications in order to reduce errors. Strategies include physician-nurse “huddles” to review patient history and time outs before a patient is discharged to give nurses the opportunity to stop the discharge process if anything has been overlooked.
(Sources: The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2011; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, May 10, 2011)