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Prevention of Medical Errors

Author: Noah Carpenter, MD and Dana Bartlett, RN, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI

CE: 2.5 hours
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 113454 reviews

Course Summary

The identification and prevention of medical errors requires the participation of all members of the health team, including patients. The traditional way of coping with medical errors was to assume errors were the result of individual mistakes such as carelessness and inattention, creating a culture of blame. However, it has become clear this approach is not optimal. It does not address the root causes of medical errors or systemic problems. It discourages disclosure of errors, and without disclosure, errors cannot be reduced. Enhancing health team knowledge and the environment of care will help to reduce the risk of a medical error and promote patient safety.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

I.      Introduction
II.     Medical Errors and the Scope of the Problem
III.    Prevalence of Medical Errors
IV.    Defining Medical Errors
1.        Medical Error
2.        Adverse Event
3.        Near Miss
V.    Types of Medical Errors
1.        Diagnostic Errors
2.        Patient Falls in Healthcare
3.        Laboratory Errors
4.        Medication Errors
5.        Surgical Errors
VI.  Causes of Medical Errors
1.      Poor Communication
2.      Lack of Knowledge
3.      High-Risk Healthcare Settings
4.      Causes of Adverse Events During Surgery
5.      Time Constraints and Patient-dependent Factors
6.      Root Cause: Human and System Factors
VII.   Preventing Medical Errors
             1.      Preventing Diagnostic Errors and Cognitive Mistakes
             2.      Preventing Falls
             3.      Preventing Laboratory Errors
             4.      Preventing Medication Errors
             5.      Preventing Surgical Errors
             6.      Interprofessional Approach to Reduce Medical Errors
             7.      Using Root Cause Analysis to Reduce Errors
             8.      Using Patient Education to Reduce Errors
VIII.   Reporting and Disclosure of Medical Errors
1.      Barriers to Reporting Medical Errors
2.      Disclosing Medical Errors to the Patient
IX.     Case Studies: Medication Errors
1.      Case 1: Wrongful administration of epinephrine
2.     Case 2: Accidental administration of insulin
 X.     Summary


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