A variety of things have been blamed for medical errors and adverse outcomes. Sometimes error is attributed to poor communication, failure to deliver correct medical information, patient’s failure to follow a doctor’s orders and healthcare professionals beings humans and prone to making mistakes.
The medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Co. found these to be some of the sources of medical errors by examining 429 cardiology claims that reached a resolution between 2007 and 2013. The insurer released a study of its findings and produced an infographic.
The infographic asserts that the practice of cardiology has underling vulnerabilities that can put patients at risk of injury and can increase liability for cardiologists as well as doctors in other specialties who treat heart patients.
Understanding the most common risks can help doctors enhance patient safety and mitigate factors that can lead to adverse events and lawsuits.
According to the infographic, the most common allegations made by patients are diagnosis related such as failure, delay or incorrectness, improper management of treatment, improper performance of treatment or procedure, improper performance of surgery, improper medication management.
Experts reviewed the 429 claims to identify the specific factors that contributed to patient injury.
Experts estimated that the most prevalent factors were patient assessment issues, technical performance, patient factors, selection and management of therapy, communication among providers and communication between patient and provider.
Patient assessment which included failure to establish a differential diagnosis, failure to use available clinical information, failure or delay in ordering diagnostic tests, and failure to address abnormal findings was calculated to be the leading factor in 25% of the claims.
It may not be surprising that misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and other assessment related issues were so prevalent. In September, the Institute of Medicine said that the majority of Americans would experience on “meaningful” diagnostic error in their lifetimes.