The most common medical error is also one of the deadliest. According to a new report, diagnostic errors are the most common of all medical errors.
The report published by ECRI states that diagnostic errors are the most common errors in outpatient care settings. The second most common errors are medication errors, which also have the potential to cause very serious injury to patients.
According to the analysis, over a period of one year, diagnostic errors represented as many as 47 percent of medical errors in outpatient settings. Medication errors accounted for approximately 27 percent of all medical errors during the same period of time.
The results were based on data that was submitted to the ECRI office between December 2017 and November 2018. There were a total of 4,355 errors that were reported to the ECRI office during this time.
According to the researchers, one of the reasons why such a large proportion of adverse events in outpatient settings involved diagnostic errors is that outpatient settings very often do not have their own in –house labs. Samples are sent elsewhere for testing, which leaves plenty of scope for mishandling of samples, as well as misinterpretation of test results. Ambulatory settings also have more challenges to deal with, and that increases the risk of errors. For the purposes of the study, the researchers mainly focused on outpatient settings like ambulatory care centers, and physicians’ offices.
The most common medication error in outpatient settings was giving the patient the wrong drug, with the second most common being ordering of medications that trigger allergies, side effects or adverse reactions.
The third most common medical error involved falls. Falls were involved in approximately 14 percent of the adverse events that were reported. People who visit their primary physician’s office are likely to suffer from fall risk factors including weakness, frailty, and disorientation.
Another adverse risk factor in outpatient settings that may not be as common in hospitals is workplace violence or related events. Smaller out-patient settings may not have access to the kind of security systems needed to protect staff and patients against violence, and the report also addresses these concerns.
The Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller represent persons injured as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.