HPCI News: HPCI News: Des Moines Business Record on Reduce Medical Errors

To: Members and Selected Others

In December the Des Moines Business Record published a story entitled Reduce Medical Errorswritten by Davis P. Lind, President, Heartland Health Research Institute.

The Idea: Radically change and improve how health care is safely delivered to Iowans, by embracing three bold approaches to ensure we have reporting, transparency and accountability when medical care is delivered to our citizens.

The three-pronged approach:

  1. Initiate mandatory provider reporting of medical errors. State compliance will require legislative action and approval by the governor.
  2. Create a simple and secure third-party central repository for patient reporting of medical errors
  3. Insurance companies in Iowa can implement initiatives to ensure their clients are safe while obtaining care. This can be done by surveying insured patients and their families.

These approaches are not intended to shame medical providers, but rather as a means for all providers to learn from patients and institute change to prevent future errors.

According to Lind’s 2018 Iowa study:

  • About 20% of Iowans have experienced medical errors in their treatment, or the treatment of others close to them, within the past five years.
  • That means that about 137,000 Des Moines metro patients could experience medical errors if all residents seek medical care during a five-year period. This is based upon a Des Moines metro population of 683,000 people.
  • Sixty (60%) of those who experienced a medical error were not told by their provider that an error occurred and an overwhelming 90% of respondents said health care providers should be required to required to inform a patient when an error occurs, and 93% agreed that the public should have access to medical error information.

Lind stated that the Des Moines medical community should heed these concerns, adopt policies notifying patients of any medical errors and report that error to a centralized information repository. Patients want to trust their doctors and hospitals, and transparency is a huge factor in promoting that trust. We are all human. However, when medical errors happen frequently, insurance companies unknowingly pay for the resulting complications. Therefore, health insurance premiums rise for everyone.

To read the article you can access it here.


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


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