In a blog post, David Blumenthal, MD, and David Squire highlight the recent HHS report that showed improved patient care in hospitals between the period 2010-2013. They attribute the success to an increased understanding of safety issues, improved awareness among patients, and value-based payment models that incentivize performance-based payments.
Fifteen years ago, the landmark Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human estimated that medical errors led to 44,000 to 98,000 deaths each year. Later estimates put those figures even higher.
Because the lion’s share of errors seemed preventable, the report asserted that, “it would be irresponsible to expect anything less than a 50 percent reduction in errors over five years.” Nothing like that occurred. Together, the seemingly intractable flaws of our healthcare system—misaligned incentives, fragmentation, poor information and communication tools, slow-to-change professional training regimes—prevented the kind of effective national assault on medical errors that the American public deserved.