HPCI News: Many Iowans have suffered medical errors, and most weren't told, study says

To: Members and Selected Others

Nearly one in five Iowans say they’ve had personal experience with medical errors, such as surgical mistakes, wrong diagnosis or incorrect medications, a new study shows. In more than half of those cases, medical staff members did not inform the patient.

This finding comes from a study released this week by Heartland Health Research Institute of Clive, Iowa. The first of its kind in Iowa, this statewide survey – The Iowa Patient Safety Study: Iowans’ Views on Medical Errors – was conducted in 2017. A total of 1,010 Iowa adults age 18 and over took part.

Of the 18.8% of Iowans who experienced an error, 60 percent were not told by the responsible health care provider that an error had occurred. The survey found that hospitals are the most frequent site of medical errors (59 percent), while 30 percent of errors occurred in a doctor’s office or clinic, four percent in nursing homes and seven percent at some other location.

Other key highlights:

  • Nearly 90 percent of Iowans “Strongly agree” that Iowa hospitals should be required to tell patients of any medical error.
  • The most common type of medical errors were mistakes made during a test, surgery or treatment, as well as misdiagnosis.
  • When experiencing a medical error, six-in-ten respondents believe a serious health consequence resulted and nearly one-third reported serious financial consequences resulted.
  • Ninety percent of those experiencing a medical error believe the medical error was preventable.
  • Sixty-two percent of those who experienced a medical error reported the error, while one-third did not report the error. Most who did not report said they simply didn’t think reporting the error would do any good.

Here is the link to the January 8 Des Moines Register article:

Here is the link to the HHRI website that allows downloading the 55-page report. Additionally, on the right side of this web page, there are FACT SHEETS that one can clip and download:

Paul M. Pietzsch, MPH
HPCI - IHBA Office
4430 Ashley Park Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
(515) 778-6300

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