Tag Archives: patient safety

Investigation highlights spotty regulation of fatal dental errors nationwide

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo by courtney0609 via Flickr.

Photo by courtney0609 via Flickr.

In a recent seven-part series for the Dallas Morning News, investigative reporter Brooks Egerton explores dental treatments that have ended tragically and gaps in the enforcement system that is supposed to hold the nation’s dentists accountable.

The Deadly Dentistry series opens with the story of a 4-year-old Dallas boy, Salomon Barahona Jr., who died in early 2014 after undergoing sedation for a dental procedure. Continue reading

IOM spotlights diagnostic errors, continues call to improve patient safety

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. He welcomes questions and suggestions and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

blood; laboratory; labs; venipuncture; serum; needle; medical; medical test; hospital; health; wellness; healthcare; sick; diagnostic; hospital; blood collection; tubes; illness; nurse; hands; gloves; arm; skin; sterile; sterilize; tourniquet

Photo: Lori Greig via Flickr

Efforts to improve health care quality and safety are mostly missing one significant source of concern: diagnostic errors, according to a report Tuesday from the Institute of Medicine. Improving Diagnosis in Health Care is the fourth in a series of IOM reports on patient safety.

In this Sept. 22 report, the IOM said that about 5 percent of U.S. adults who seek outpatient care experience a diagnostic error each year. Diagnostic errors contribute to about 10 percent of patient deaths, and account for about 6 percent to 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals. Continue reading

Surgeons’ complication rates become public with new database

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Whether consumers are choosing a car, a household appliance or even a nursing home, there are ratings and reviews available to make the best choice. But patients are often blind when choosing a surgeon.

Surgeon Scorecard, a database released by ProPublica this week helps shed some light on that area with an analysis of death and complication rates for nearly 17,000 U.S. surgeons for eight common surgical procedures. This is the first time this information has been available to the public. Continue reading

Report reveals the challenges behind covering patient safety

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. He welcomes questions and suggestions and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Michael L. Millenson

Patient safety is a critically important topic for health care journalists. Yet collecting the data needed to report on it thoroughly can be frustratingly difficult.

For a new report, former journalist Michael L. Millenson (@MLMillenson), explains the challenges he and his colleagues encountered collecting the data they needed to produce a nonpartisan report, “The Politics of Patient Harm: Medical Error and the Safest Congressional Districts.” The first analysis of patient safety by congressional district, the report ranks each district as good, fair or poor on patient safety. Continue reading

Latest Leapfrog scores show hospitals need to improve patient safety

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. He welcomes questions and suggestions and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

A new report from the Leapfrog Group couldn’t be more timely given the attention hospitals have received recently on the need to improve patient safety, particularly infection-control procedures.

hospital corridor

Image by Julie Kertesz via flickr.

On Wednesday, Leapfrog released a report showing a lack of progress on patient outcomes and a decline on certain patient-safety measures, such as preventing surgical site infections during major colon surgery.

The data also show that hospitals made improvements in processes and safe practices, such as instituting hand-hygiene policies and physician staffing in intensive care units. For the safety scores of 2,500 general hospitals, Leapfrog assigns A, B, C, D and F grades based on a hospital’s ability to prevent errors, injuries and infections.

Continue reading