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Survey shows poor ownership of errors among physicians

Medical errors are a concern for many people in Iowa yet it can be very difficult to know if or when an error has actually occurred. Ideally, patients would be able to trust doctors and other health care providers to alert them if a mistake is discovered. However, some research conducted by Georgia State University indicates that this trust is not something well earned by many medical professionals.

Becker's Hospital Review explains that the research results showed a large number of physicians unwilling to voluntarily release information about or apologize for any mistakes. It was revealed that certain factors might increase a physician's willingness to be transparent about a medical mistake. One of these factors was the level of severity of the error. The graver the error, the higher the chance that a physician would open up. So too would doctors be more inclined to share information about mistakes if they believed they held a level of individual responsibility.

In one scenario put forth in the research, a coordination of care error was identified as the cause of a delay in treatment. To this scenario, 58 percent of respondents said they would not volunteer information or that any discussion would only minimally refer to a potential communication issue. In the second scenario, 70 percent of respondent had the same response to a cancer diagnoses that was delayed.

If you would like to learn more about medical errors, please feel free to visit the physician responsibility and disclosure page of our Iowa medical malpractice website.



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