In the Wall Street Journal piece, “How to Stop Hospitals from Killing Us,” surgeon Marty Makary offers several suggestions that would increase hospital safety and reduce hospital errors. After all, as he points out, each week there are enough people killed by medical mistakes to fill four jumbo jets—a rate that should and can be reduced.
In addition to “online dashboards,” which we discussed in a previous blog post, Makary makes several additional suggestions. These ideas are intended to bolster patient safety in an industry where the stakes are high but mistakes are still common.
Could Cameras in Hospitals Reduce Malpractice?
One such recommendation is the use of cameras. Cameras are currently used on the streets to keep people safe—why not in the hospitals? Makary points out that sometimes cameras are used in healthcare, but that they are rarely recording. Being able to review recordings, however, could provide unique insight into what happens during a procedure—not only to find things that went wrong but also to use as a learning tool.
To see how such cameras could improve conditions, one doctor, Doug Rex, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Indiana University Health, began video recording colonoscopies being performed by doctors at his practice. He didn’t tell anyone he was taping and reviewing the procedures—which are the type that can be rushed through resulting in missed polyps. After looking at about 100 procedures, he informed his staff he would start reviewing videos. Then, things dramatically changed: Doctors slowed down and the length of the procedures increased by 50% while the quality scores were boosted 30%. In other words, the doctors were much more careful when they knew their work was being reviewed with a camera.
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The same sort of practice was used at Long Island’s North Shore University, where hand washing practices were disturbingly low, at under 10%. After installing cameras, compliance with hand washing standards rose to over 90%.
Also, in another suggestion that would boost transparency, Makary suggests open notes. What this means is that a doctor should make his or her notes about the patient available to the patient. How else would someone catch a glaring mistake in the patient information? By allowing patients to review their own notes, it would foster open dialogue and a true understanding between patient and provider.
There are several things your doctor or surgeon can do to reduce the likelihood of a mistake. It’s up to you to advocate for your best interests. But, when a mistake happens, and you are injured as a result, you may need help.
The Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys with Baker & Gilchrist are committed to helping area people who have been hurt through a medical mistake — whether at the hospital or at their local doctor’s office. If you are the victim of medical malpractice, contact our offices today to discuss your legal options.