UCI Medical Center Implements Less Punitive Medical Error Reporting System
The University of California-Irvine Medical Center this week implemented a new program that is designed to eliminate medical errors by "promising not to punish the doctors and nurses who make mistakes" but instead assume that "a system, not a person, is usually at fault," the Orange County Register reports. When a mistake is made, the Electronic Event Reporting System will encourage the provider to come forward and fill out a computerized "event report" that records the mistake. Hospital administrators will then interview everyone involved, analyze the computer report and make changes to ensure that a similar mistake is not made again. After this process, if a physician or nurse is determined to have been negligent, that person will be disciplined, UCI Senior Medical Director Dr. Eugene Spiritus said, adding that "more often than not," medical professionals are "trying to do their best," the Register reports. The system has been in place at other UC hospitals for several months, but it is "too early" to tell how effective it has been.
According to the Register, many patient advocates disagree with the system, saying that hospitals "don't do enough" to "weed out bad doctors" or disclose medical errors to the public and state regulators. Jamie Court, executive director of the Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights, said, "The medical profession cannot be trusted to regulate itself outside of public oversight" (Saar, Orange County Register, 10/28).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.