Medical Error: 3rd Leading Cause of Death

Research published in the BMJ on Tuesday, shows that “medical errors” may now be the third-leading cause of death in the United States — "claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s."

"Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another."
"'There has just been a higher degree of tolerance for variability in practice than you would see in other industries... That makes it tricky to figure out where errors are occurring and how to fix them'... 'Measuring the problem is the absolute first step,' he said. 'Hospitals are currently investigating deaths where medical error could have been a cause, but they are underresourced. What we need to do is study patterns nationally.'"

"'There has just been a higher degree of tolerance for variability in practice than you would see in other industries... That makes it tricky to figure out where errors are occurring and how to fix them'...

'Measuring the problem is the absolute first step,' he said. 'Hospitals are currently investigating deaths where medical error could have been a cause, but they are underresourced. What we need to do is study patterns nationally.'"

Medal talk @ UCSF/Berkeley

It was an honor to be featured as an invited speaker at the Berkeley Haas Healthcare Conference this year alongside leaders in the field of Interoperability.  Interoperability is the ability of one hospital's computer systems to "talk" to another hospital's different system.  Our panel was "A better future for health and healthcare through interoperability" and you can watch my portion of the presentation section here:

I'm glad someone nabbed a video of this.  If you're interested in learning more about the other panel members you can find their information here:

Musings

A young, high-ranking female healthcare executive gave me some practical advice last week.  Success in healthcare is about accepting the things you cannot (yet?) change, changing the things you can, and learning to say the Serenity Prayer:

Give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.