Primary and Outpatient Care Settings Affected by Medical Errors

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It is a common misconception that medical errors occur only in hospitals. However, according to a white paper that was recently released by the Foundation for the Innovation and Development of Health Safety, approximately four out of 10 patients are affected by medical errors in the primary care and outpatient health care setting. The study also revealed that nearly 80 percent of those errors were preventable. Considering the large number of patients who receive treatment from a primary care physician, or at an outpatient care facility, the incidence of medical errors in these settings is concerning. Patients whose health and safety has been compromised by a medical error should consider contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

According to the white paper, approximately eight billion patients from 34 countries are treated at primary and ambulatory care facilities around the world. As many as 25 percent of these patients are harmed by medical mistakes. From an economic and humanitarian perspective, the impact that these errors have on patients is devastating. This is particularly true in low and middle-income countries, where between 5.7 and 8.4 million patients die each year because of poor quality of care. The financial impact is significant as well, with medical errors costing between $1.4 and $1.6 trillion a year in lost productivity alone.

Most Common Causes of Medical Errors

The white paper named the following as the most common causes of medical errors:

  • Medication errors, including adverse drug events
  • Surgical errors, including those that occur during surgery and the period after the procedure until the patient is discharged
  • Misdiagnosis errors, including the misidentification of an illness and the incorrect treatment

Although surgical and perioperative errors have been responsible for the most fatalities, there has been a decline in recent years, while the number of fatalities associated with adverse drug effects has been increasing. Many of these preventable errors can be avoided through legislative, administrative, and health IT solutions, such as computerized physician order entry systems, electronic record systems, and barcode electronic medication administration systems. In fact, these systems have been shown to reduce errors by over 50 percent, according to the report.

Other methods that could further reduce errors include incorporating computerized dispensing systems for patients who do not take their medication as directed. In addition, drug interaction databases can help prevent potentially serious drug interactions. The paper also discussed the benefits of interconnecting systems, and the use of mobile technology to improve patient safety.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Errors

If you or a loved one was injured, or your health was compromised while under the care of a health care professional at a primary or outpatient care setting, you are urged to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your case and hold the negligent party responsible for your injury. Protecting your rights is our top priority. Our dedicated and experienced legal team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.