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Hospital safety

 

Injuries resulting from medical errors are a huge unrecognized problem. According to US studies, at least 44,000 and possible as many as 98,000 Americans die annually in hospitals because of a medical error. Although statistics from Europe and USA show that sizeable number of patients are harmed as a result of a medical error, medical errors and hospital injuries due to medical error have attracted very little attention. Since hospital patients represent only a fraction of a total population at risk of experiencing a medical-related error, the total fatality rate in population due to medical errors can be estimated to be much larger. Earlier studies show that continuing education of hospital personnel, mainly doctors and nurses, is the most effective strategy to decrease the number of medical errors and patient and personnel injuries. More than 70% of medical errors can be prevented with right error management strategies, i.e. education.

 

We in the Traffic Research Center of Finland are involved in projects aiming to improve patient safety. Medical errors include hospital infection prevention, surgical errors and medication errors. We in Traffic Research Center of Finland are interested in all these three categories of errors. Our approach to medical errors is in based on both person models focusing on the errors made at an individual operator (e.g., doctor) level, and system models focusing on the interaction between wider systematic failures and errors made by an individual operator.