Each year, an estimated 400,000 Americans die from harm due to medical errors, according to the 2013 Journal of Patient Safety report. That is over 4 times the number of lives the Institute of Medicine “To Err Is Human” report estimated back in 1999.
Aside from the cost of America lives, the IOM report also points out the errors are “costly in terms of loss of trust in the health care system by patients and diminished satisfaction by both patients and health professionals. Patients who experience a long hospital stay or disability as a result of errors pay with physical and psychological discomfort. Health professionals pay with loss of morale and frustration at not being able to provide the best care possible. Society bears the cost of errors as well, in terms of lost worker productivity, reduced school attendance by children, and lower levels of population health status.”
And we couldn’t agree more. The effects of medical errors are financial, emotional and physical burden.
On our site, we created a widget, which you can add to your site, which tracks the number of health care related preventable deaths to date. Watching the count grow is sad realization that we are still a long ways from where we need to be.
Yes, to err is human. But when lives are at stake, the consequences can be too much to bear, which is why we applaud the work the National Patient Safety Foundation is doing to reduce errors and save lives.
The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) is an organization working to “create a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm.” It partners with patients and their families, clinicians and other stakeholders to promote health care and patient safety as well as strategies to prevent harm.
As a part of this mission, every year the NPSF hosts the Patient Safety Awareness Week, which takes place this week (March 8-14). This year’s theme is “United in Safety” focusing on everyone, including patients, providers, executives, and advocate, collaborating and playing a role in promoting and delivering safe care.
For Patient Safety Awareness Week 2015, NPSF is hosting both a free webinar and a tweet chat around consumer engagement in patient safety. In addition, it offers educational resources for clinicians, health systems, and patients alike which address how to enhance communication between patients and providers to increase engagement.
We encourage you to utilize these free events and resources as a part of your mission to improve the quality of health care.