Mercury News Editorial Recommends Mandatory Medical Error Reporting
Although U.S. doctors are "very aware of the prevalence of medical errors" -- according to a recent survey, 35% say they or family members have experienced such mistakes, often with serious consequences -- physicians themselves remain the "biggest roadblock to reducing" serious medical mistakes, according to a San Jose Mercury News editorial. According to the editorial, medical errors rival traffic accidents as a cause of death and injury, and providers "need to recognize" that while "people make mistakes, systems can be designed to reduce the potential for error to near zero." The Mercury News says that the "blame-free" environment at the University of California hospitals enables workers to "safely report mistakes so that patterns of errors can be spotted and eliminated" and that the system can be implemented nationally "if there's leadership." The editorial concludes that "change is urgently needed" and that while "[n]o one likes admitting mistakes," mandatory medical error reporting "is an essential step toward wiping out the shocking statistics on medical errors" (San Jose Mercury News, 1/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.