Massachusetts Programs Use HHS Research Grants to Reduce Medical Errors
Several health organizations in Massachusetts have secured nearly $8 million in federal funding for studies and pilot projects that aim to reduce medical errors, the Boston Globe reports (Dembner, Boston Globe, 10/30). Earlier this month, HHS announced around $50 million in grants for research on the issue (California Healthline, 10/12). The Massachusetts grants, which total $8 million, are expected to last for three years. The individual programs include:
- A consortium of HMOs and academic medical centers led by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will study the prescribing of "risky drugs" for outpatients. The study will look into whether computerized feedback or physician education can prevent such prescriptions.
- The state Department of Public Health will evaluate the systems that states use to report medical errors. Leaders of the study "hope to learn what might be a good model for a nationwide system," Nancy Ridley, assistant commissioner of public health, said.
- Another study by the Department of Public Health will survey 100 hospitals across the country to determine whether and how hospitals inform patients about mistakes made by medical personnel.
- Brigham and Women's Hospital will establish a center to promote efforts to guarantee patient safety.
- A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital will look into the impact of working conditions on medical errors (Boston Globe, 10/30).
- A demonstration project run by Harvard University will assess the usefulness of claims from six medical malpractice insurers to identify risks to patients (HHS release, 10/11).
- A developmental center run by Boston University will focus on understanding and reducing medical errors for poor and "culturally disadvantaged" patients, especially in ambulatory care (HHS release, 10/11).
- The research company Aptima, Inc. will study the use of "cognitive engineering" to increase physician acceptance of a "decision support tool" for acute cardiac care ischemia (HHS release, 10/11).