Guest Column | May 29, 2013

Purple Button Technology – A Means to Overcome the Patient Safety Epidemic

 Douglas Dotan, CRG Medical

By Douglas Dotan, CRG Medical

200,000. Based on an investigation by Hearst Corporation, that is the number of patient deaths that occur each year in the United States due to preventable medical mistakes. The numbers surrounding medication errors are even more staggering –recent findings from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggest that 1.5 million medication errors harm patients each year, resulting in an estimated $3.5 billion in additional medical costs.

For each adverse patient event, a similar scenario has occurred approximately 200 to 300 times, but a barrier was in place that helped prevent a bad outcome. The lack of documenting and analyzing potentially harmful events represents one of the most common near misses that prevents healthcare organizations from learning from, and improving the patient care environment.  

In fact, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), 86 percent of reportable adverse events to Medicare patients are not disclosed. While these events are often documented in the patient’s medical record, only 14 percent of the actual data is used for quality assurance purposes and prevention action planning. Less than two percent of all medical safety events are reported by physicians. These statistics are indicators of a national epidemic: the underreporting of patient safety events.

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