Impact of Medical and Communication Errors in Health Care

Impact of Medical and Communication Errors in Health Care
Impact of Medical and Communication Errors in Health Care

Impact of Medical Errors in Health Care

Utilizing no less than three scholarly sources outside of your textbook, research a common error in the medical field that results in harm to or death in patients. Pick one mistake and discuss how it is caused, what preventive measures have been taken against it, and what you would propose to fix it. Be very specific in your proposal, we need to see doable steps that would produce change in a healthcare facility. Be sure to demonstrate that you have researched the causes and how your proposed solution would specifically change patient outcomes.

Types of Medical Errors to Consider

prescription errors or errors in prescription and medication errors ,

medication error statistics 2017,

causes of medical errors,

types of medication errors,

medication errors in hospitals,

Introduction: Medical Errors

Medical errors have become common in recent times making medical care not as safe as it ought to be and hindering the objective of saving life as effects of medical and instead leading to adverse effects that worsen the quality of life or even lead to death at worst. Medical errors are adverse effects of care that are preventable whether or not there is evidence of harm to patients: errors are preventable and should not occur in the first place, yet they do occur often. This paper seeks to outline and discuss a common medical care error that occurs often and one that leads to adverse effects on the patients and causes death at worst if not timely rectified.

As a matter of fact, Carrie (2017) in an article asserts that a study conducted by John Hopkins shows that medical errors are now ranked third on the major causes of death in the United States after surpassing diabetes, strokes, and Alzheimer’s. In addition, the article also states that none in every seven patients enrolled under Medicare are victims of medical errors. Medical errors could occur in any setting of health care provision including pharmacies, hospitals, surgery centers, clinics, nursing homes, patient homes, and medical offices among others. Some mistakes are common across the board whereas some are specific to the medical care setting.

Medical Error: Communication Errors

Since some errors are specific while some are broad, this paper seeks to address a medical care error that is common across the board and one that is likely to occur in any health care providing setting and area. This paper focuses on communication problems/ errors. Communication breakdowns have become the commonest kinds of medical errors. These could be written or verbal and they occur in any kind of healthcare system of medical practice. Communication breakdown could be between a physician and a nurse, a member of the healthcare team, or a patient.

[blur] Information flow is important in any medical care environment especially those that have various service areas (La Pietra et al, 2015). In such a scenario, the transfer of a patient from one service area to another or discharge from an organization or component to another should be followed with transfer of necessary information without distortion, when there is inadequate flow of information in such a scenario, crucial information is missed to influence decisions on prescriptions, inappropriate communication of test results is imminent, and there is also poor coordination of medical orders needed when transferring care. These things may affect the patient’s well-being in one way or another leading to things like misdiagnosis when test results are not effectively coordinated or wrong prescription of medication/ drugs. [/blur]

[blur] Such issues may cause adverse effects on the health and wellbeing of patients or death. In fact, Coiera (2016) notes that a retrospective review of some 14,000 in-hospital deaths showed that communication errors were the leading cause and twice as much as the deaths caused by poor clinical skills. In addition, half of all the adverse effects that were reported from primary care physicians’ study by the article were linked to communication errors and difficulties. [/blur]

[blur] Poor communication most often leads to medical errors. There are other various common errors such as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, hospital-acquired infections, delayed treatment and so forth. Communication errors have been chosen or this paper since it is sad that as common as they may be and prone to occur in any healthcare setting, they are hardly given the necessary attention or addressed. Communication errors also lead to other common errors like misdiagnosis, improper prescription, and delayed treatment among others as aforementioned. Thus, communication errors that may occur among the various persons in a medical facility on a patient or between a health care provider and patient cause serious problems since proper healthcare is founded on getting information and using it as it is from diagnosis, to treatment, to prescription. [/blur]


[blur] Communication should be made effective and accuracy maintained without a breakdown across healthcare organizations with different units or where patients are transferred across factions of care. Thus, this paper proposes the development, implementation, evaluation, and development of a communication strategy for the team or healthcare service provider. Such a strategy and system of communication would provide service providers with a standardized and structured tool of communication to not just communicate across the facility and providers but to educate/ inform on standard actions based on communication on patients. Such a system can be general and implemented to specific health areas such as in caregiving nursing homes and big medical facilities or even clinics based on the need and efficiency. [/blur]

[blur] In this regard, this paper proposes the use of the INTERACT tools of communication. Developed as an Intervention to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT) for patients in nursing homes especially, the model is developed on the tenet that communication within a care giving/ healthcare organization is of essence (Web Source). This involves a system in which patient data is entered on every phase of care through timely monitoring and subsequent accurate reporting of assessment. With such a system (computerized preferably), team members and healthcare providers in a medical care facility will have access to the patient’s information and history provided in a system when they attend to them and take the relevant action based on the scenario. The system also provides learning tools on actions to take on some common scenarios. [/blur]

[blur] Communication tools outlined by the INTERACT framework are the most viable in all kinds of medical care facilities. With this kind of information sharing, for example, the pharmacy department will be able to see the drugs prescribed from diagnosis while a doctor will be able to see lab test results and make decisions appropriately based on the accurate information offered: nurses would also know the best and most appropriate care to offer. [/blur]


[blur] Evidently, communication errors are costly. Communication is essential especially when dealing with patients. Proper communication on the patient as he undergoes different phases of care- with the same information recorded in a system for the caregivers- ensures that appropriate action is taken. This will in turn reduce in-hospital deaths and promote the health outcomes of patients. [/blur]


Carrie, Ann. The 8 Most Common Root Causes of Medical Errors. Always Culture. September 6, 2017. https://alwaysculture.com/hcahps/8-most-common-causes-of-medical-errors/

Coiera, E. (2016). Communication Systems in Healthcare. Clinical Biochemist Reviews27(2), 89–98.

La Pietra, L., Calligaris, L., Molendini, L., Quattrin, R., & Brusaferro, S. (2015). Medical errors and clinical risk management: state of the artActa Otorhinolaryngologica Italica25(6), 339–346.


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Impact of Medical and Communication Errors in Health Care

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