How to decrease medical malpractice suits by decreasing malpractice — Posting number 3 — How hospitals are increasing safety and reducing costs by preventing malpractice

Recently hospitals are being built or being remodeled to increase patient satisfaction and safety and, at the same time, reduce hospital costs. A recent article entitled “Newest hospitals display new thinking” is one of a number of articles that discusses how new hospitals are being built or remodeled with patient safety in mind. In fact, aerospace and industrial safety experts were consulted in designing one of the hospitals.

The article cites The Center for Health Design of Concord, CA, and notes that the Center’s “analysis of more than 600 research studies proves hospital design can improve the outcome of patient treatment.” Here are some examples of how hospitals have reduced patient injuries:

Patient falls decreased by 75 percent in one cardiac ICU after it spread out its nurses stations and placed the nurses closer to the patients. The article notes that treatment for a fall, assuming there is no lawsuit, can cost a hospital about $10,000. And how many of us have heard about the severe effects that patients can have due to one of those falls, including ultimately death from their inability to ambulate due to broken bones and pelvises. Not only are the redesigning hospitals saving money, they are preventing untold amounts of pain and suffering — and, indeed, deaths due to the falls.

Infections acquired in another hospital decreased 11 percent in new wings of the hospital where each room was made private and a sink was conveniently located for hand washing. (Normally, infections “cause tens of thousands of deaths” and cost hospitals “billions of dollars annually.”)

Medical errors in two new inpatient units at another hospital decreased 30 percent “after medication rooms were expanded, medical supplies were reorganized and acoustical panels were installed to decrease distracting noise.”

The article details the names of the hospitals and includes additional examples of how the redesign aided both the hospital, the staff and the patients. It makes interesting reading, and none of the solutions required rocket science.

How you can get the latest news on preventing malpractice suits by preventing malpractice

If you would like to keep up with new information about how hospitals and others are preventing malpractice suits by preventing malpractice, you can find the latest examples the same way I found the current article: You can go to Google and sign up for a News Alert using the term “medical errors” (with the quotation marks). I’m sure there are better ways of finding the latest news items. When you find the better ways, please pass them on.

If you’re not familiar with using Google’s “News Alerts” — Yahoo and CNN also have them — you can visit my website for a description of one of the relatively unknown ways that you can use Google. The posting is on “How you can get the latest news on Google. And how you can keep track of what news sources are saying about your clients and your opponents (and maybe even about you).”

My prior medical malpractice postings

This is my third medical malpractice prevention posting. The first relates to how the FDA has enacted a new rule requiring bar codes for blood and blood-related products. The FDA states that its change will result in a decrease over the next 20 years of over 500,000 blood-related “adverse events.” That calculates to a potential saving of over 25,000 “adverse events” annually.

My second posting reports a study that concludes that an average of 195,000 people have died annually due to errors in hospitals. And that’s just deaths — it doesn’t include injuries. And that also just counts deaths due to in-hospital errors. It doesn’t even include non-hospital related deaths or injuries.

Wouldn’t it be great if the medical system was overhauled and there weren’t any malpractice cases for lawyers to handle?