Current Issues in Health Care
University of Phoenix
Health Law and Ethics
Professor: Dr. Michael Grossman
February 14, 2015
Current Issues in Health Care
Medical errors persist despite modern technology. Although, this is not a new issue it remains in the forefront of the health care community. Health care is a decade or more behind many other high-risk industries in its attention to ensuring basic safety (Institute of Medicine, 1999). Medical errors have been in the spotlight since the 1990's when government studied the sudden increase in the number of hospital deaths. According to Lester and Tritter (2001) "Medical error is an actual or potentially serious lapse in ...view middle of the document...
A loss of morale and mounting frustration is often found among health care providers, when they feel as if they are not providing the patient with the highest standard of care possible. Communities also bear the cost of medical errors. . Students who are healthy and fit come to school ready to learn; employees who are free from mental and physical conditions take fewer sick days, are more productive, and help strengthen the economy; and older adults who remain physically and mentally active are more likely to live independently (Benjamin, 2011).
There are many reasons for medical errors and many opinions as to what the root cause of these errors are. Most researchers agree that the errors are a result of a flawed system and not that of individuals. Corporate structure may lend itself to the propensity of medical errors, as organizational structure and culture impact the quality of care that the facility is providing. Organizational design is a formal, guided process for integrating the people information and technology of an organization and serves as an essential structural element that allows corporation to maximize value by matching their corporate design to overall strategy (Glickman, Baggett, Krubert, Peterson, & Schulman, 2008).
Many medical errors and near misses can be attributed to the amount of nursing experience that a facility may require. Financially, it is advantageous to the facility to hire new nurses that demand a lower wage. A higher number of medical errors and near misses can be directly attributed to the decrease in nursing experience.
Job stress is noted to be another factor in the amount of medical errors that are reported in acute care facilities. Job stress is a direct reflection on the corporate structure and policies. Poor organizational structure and culture can create a stressful work environment. An example of this is a facility that hires nurses exclusively for 12-hour shifts. Literature shows that nurses that work 12-hour shifts are more prone to committing medical errors and near misses.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is emphasizing the use of electronic health records (EHR). EHR has many advantages and is a requirement that is designed to decrease medical errors and in turn increase patient safety. The PPACA is also setting forth a request to develop reporting requirements for use by health plans addressing plan benefits and health care reimbursement structures that, among other goals, implement activities to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors through the appropriate use of best clinical practices, evidence-based medicine, and health information technology ("HIT," 2010).
It is important to have appropriate resources in order to address the issue of medical errors. Ethically, all providers must practice with nonmaleficence (do not harm) in mind. With the allocation of appropriate funding, an organization can make strides in reducing...