A critically important area of excess spending and patient suffering is connected to care that is not only unnecessary, but actually harms patients. Among other things, medical harm includes:
Most medical errors are the result of systems-level problems and not linked to individual performance.1 Moreover, errors leading to preventable harm are almost always multifactorial and the strategies to reduce harm must be multi-disciplinary, as well.2 These systems-level strategies are well-understood but unevenly implemented.3 Policymakers can support harm reduction by:
Many experts lament the lack of progress in addressing medical harm since the IOM released its landmark report, To Err is Human, in 1999. Let's not let another 20 years go by.
1. Nacioglu, Ahmet, "As a Critical Behavior to Improve Quality and Patient Safety in Health Care: Speaking Up!" Safety in Health, Vol. 2, No. 10 (2016).
2. Bernazzani, Sophia, "Tallying the High Cost of Preventable Harm," Costs of Care (October 5, 2015).
3. See: The National Patient Safety Goals of The Joint Commission for checklists related to different healthcare systems, https://www.jointcommission.org/en/standards/national-patient-safety-goals/. See also: Bernazzani, Sophia, "What Hospitals Can Do To Curb Adverse Events, Preentable Harm," Fierce Healthcare (November 24, 2015).