By David Crist, senior vice president of sales & marketing for Brother Mobile Solutions
Here’s a statistic that will stop you in your tracks: There has been virtually no improvement in patient safety over the past 15 years, according to testimony by health experts at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing this past summer.
In fact, patient safety may have gotten worse – or, at the very least, our tracking capability has gotten more accurate. A Journal of Patient Safety study published in 2013 estimated that hospital medical errors lead to more than 400,000 patient deaths annually, more than four times the number of preventable deaths estimated in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report in 1999. And the new study calculated serious harm to be 10 to 20 times more common than lethal harm.
Clearly there are no easy remedies, given the amount of time, energy and money already invested in patient safety initiatives during the past decade and a half. Yet one logical, cost-effective way to begin tackling this stubbornly high rate of preventable adverse events is by expanding the adoption of barcoding technology across the healthcare enterprise.