The problem of failing to report errors is significant not only because hospitals avoid blame, but also because they lose the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. More than anything else, hospitals are losing valuable opportunities to improve patient care by learning more about how to stop preventable errors.
Researchers do not believe that the failure to report errors is a result of any pernicious motive by health care providers, but rather a lack of education among staff about what sorts of reporting regulations require. Aside from stepping up education efforts, researchers suggest that the widespread adoption of electronic medical records should make discovering the causes of common errors easier for regulators.
Although new technology may make hospital stays safer in the future, health care providers must find ways to comply with regulations in the meantime.
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Source: USA Today, “HHS: Hospitals ignoring requirements to report errors,” Kelly Kennedy.