Sen. Boxer: Calif. Hospitals Take Steps To Reduce Medical Errors
Boxer said research has found that between 210,000 and 440,000 U.S. residents die each year because of medical errors (Brown, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/25).
Last year, Boxer called on federal agencies to index medical errors across the U.S. As a result, the Partnership for Patients, funded by the Affordable Care Act, released a list of the nine most common medical errors:
- Adverse drug events;
- Blood clots;
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections;
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections;
- Injuries sustained from falls and immobility;
- Obstetrical adverse events;
- Pressure ulcers;
- Surgical site infections; and
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Details of Report
For the report released last week, Boxer surveyed acute care hospitals in California to determine what actions they had taken to reduce such errors. Of the state's acute care hospitals, 149 hospitals -- or nearly 53% -- responded to the survey (Boxer report, 4/25)
Some of the most common ways hospitals are addressing medical errors include adopting computerizing medication tracking systems, implementing hand-washing programs and other initiatives ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/25).
For example, the report found that UCLA Medical Center has begun:
- Banning the use of home-laundered scrubs;
- Disinfecting hospital rooms using ultraviolent radiation; and
- Prohibiting physicians and other hospital staff from participating in surgeries if they have open wounds.
Similarly, Kaiser Permanente developed a system requiring nurses to wear colored sashes or vests when providing patients with medications in order to prevent disruptions that could lead to medication dispensing errors (Boxer report, 4/25).
In a release accompanying the report, Boxer said, "I will be sending this report to all the [acute care] hospitals -- the ones that participated and the ones that did not. I urge those hospitals that chose not to respond to my request to do so now" (Boxer release, 4/25).
She added, "My hope is this report will drive improvements" ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/25).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.