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Study Finds I-PASS System Reduces Medical Errors

April 9th, 2015 at 7:30 am

reduce medical errors, Westport personal injury lawyerA study conducted by researchers from multiple hospitals and led by Boston Children’s Hospital revealed that injuries caused by medical errors could be reduced as much as 30 percent if there were better communications between clinicians during patient hand-offs.

Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in this country. Almost 80 percent of those errors – which are caused by issues such as diagnostic delays, medication overdoses, and preventable surgical complications – are found to have originated in miscommunications between medical personnel, especially during the times of patient hand-offs.

Details and results of the study were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Boston Children’s Hospital was the lead site in the study. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also located in Boston, was in charge of coordinating all the data. The other hospitals involved included:

  • Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, in conjunction with University of California San Francisco;
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in conjunction with University of Cincinnati;
  • Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Portland, OR in conjunction with Oregon Health Sciences University;
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, in conjunction with University of Toronto;
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Palo Alto, CA in conjunction with Stanford University;
  • Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, in conjunction with University of Utah;
  • St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, MO, in conjunction with Washington University St. Louis;
  • St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, in conjunction with Drexel University; and
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The study focused on what benefits using the I-PASS system, which utilizes bundled communication and training tools for hand-off of patient care between providers, would have in reducing medical errors. The acronym stands for Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situational awareness and contingency planning, and Synthesis by receiver. The I-PASS system utilizes:

  • Standardized communication and hand-off training for all medical facilities;
  • Sharing patient information using computerized programs which utilized the I-PASS structure; and
  • Attending physicians overseeing and observing hand-offs of their patients.

The study lasted for 18 months. In the first six months, medical staff was monitored and assessed. For the second six months, medical staff was trained on the I-PASS system and required to use the system. The last six months also involved monitoring and assessing staff.

By using the I-PASS system, the overall rate of medical errors declined from 23 percent. For every 100 admissions, the number of medical errors went from 24.5 to 18.8. Injuries caused by medical errors fell by 30 percent. For every 100 admission, the number of patients injured went from 4.7 to 3.3.

If you have been injured as a result of a medical error, contact an experienced Westport, CT medical malpractice attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss. Call 203-226-6168 for a free consultation with Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law.

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