The root cause of many medication error lawsuits is often a breakdown of communications between staff. Medical malpractice lawyers from NYC know this all too well. In an effort to curb the growing number of errors as well as malpractice lawsuits, researchers have developed an improved method of communicating that promises to reduce the error rate dramatically. HealthDay reporter Steven Reinberg writes about the routine which has so far shown promise.
…they developed a method of communication dubbed the “I-PASS Handoff Bundle.” For each patient in the doctor’s charge, both oral and written data are required to describe:
I: Illness severity (the patient’s condition),
P: Patient summary (what’s wrong with the patient and history),
A: Action list (what needs to be done),
S: Situation awareness and contingency planning (planning for what might happen),
S: Synthesis by receiver (asking questions, showing the material was understood).
Analysis by the team showed that errors are more likely to occur during handoffs, which was the motivation for this program’s creation. Hospital administrators, doctors, and experienced medical malpractice firms like the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein PC all agree that the transmission of information from one doctor to another is less than perfect, so any opportunity to improve or create a better system is most welcome.
In the study of nearly 11,000 patients, researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston discovered that by improving communication between doctors, the rate of medical errors could be decreased by nearly 25%. Using the IPASS program at nine hospitals, the number of errors was indeed reduced without disrupting the doctors’ workflow.
Researchers are optimistic that hospitals across the country will benefit from this program because of its adaptability to other health care workers such as nurses and surgeons. For hospitals that have different ways of doing things, the team highly recommends they design one that works for them so they can enjoy the benefits as well.
The field of medicine is not an easy one, and errors sometimes cannot be avoided. However, when a patient’s life is at stake, no one can afford the “I’m only human” defense. More than meaning less work for an NYC medical malpractice lawyer, the IPASS system aims to prevent careless mistakes from becoming deadly ones.
(Article excerpt and image from “Medical Errors Drop When Docs Communicate Better at Shift Changes”, 05 November 2014, St. Louis Post – HealthDay)