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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the major things that hospitals can do to ensure your safety as a patient is to keep careful track of possible errors. No one wants to make an error, especially in a hospital setting with patient lives on the line. But if these errors can be measured and people can learn from them similar mistakes can be prevented.

According to a study from the University of Utah a self-reporting system is not necessarily as good as a global tracking system.  The University of Utah used something called a “Global Trigger Tool” to measure errors and their system was able to identify 354 errors compared to only 39 with other systems that are more traditional.  This means 90 percent of mistakes were missed.

The review of the study shows that many of these mistakes were not major errors nor did they necessarily cause patients significant harm but the point is we need better ways to monitor errors across the board.  Let’s hope that as electronic medical records become more part of patient care many of these errors can be picked up earlier.

Reported by Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio

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