Research investigates why medical errors occur in emergency department

From News-Medical:

Researchers looked at patients who came back to emergency departments a second time within 72 hours and were admitted to the hospital on their second visit – an indicator that care could have been improved during the first visit. A trained team of physicians looked at each case to determine whether the team during the patient’s first visit might have made a mistake, and if one was found, determined the type of mistake that was made.

The most frequently identified type of error (45% of cases) was problems with information processing, followed by problems with verifying information that was gathered (31%). Inadequate knowledge problems (6%) and inadequate information gathering (18%) occurred relatively infrequently. Misjudging how significant a finding was and prematurely deciding on an incorrect diagnosis were the individual errors that occurred most frequently (13% each).

The study also found that patients with abdominal complaints may be particularly vulnerable to these errors.

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