Survey finds Americans support mandatory reporting of errors

Kaiser survey finds Americans endorse mandatory reporting of drug errors



Survey finds public supports mandatory reporting of errors


Three out of four Americans believe the federal government should require health-care providers to report all serious medical errors so the information is publicly available, according to a new national survey. Most of the rest support voluntary reporting to protect staff and patient privacy.

The more than 2,000 Americans polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality also indicated they were more concerned about mistakes happening when they were in the hands of the health-care system than in a pharmacy or on an airplane. Nearly half said they were "very concerned" about an error resulting in injury to them or a family member, compared with about a third each for getting an Rx filled at a pharmacy or traveling on a commercial airliner. Some 6% reported that within the past year they had personally suffered injury from a medical error. Large majorities said data on medical errors (71%) and malpractice suits (70%) would be the biggest help in determining the quality of providers.

"Media attention to the Institute of Medicine story [in December 1999] has propelled the problem of medical errors to the forefront in a short period of time," said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The survey found that few people currently are using the Internet to find out about the quality of providers and few trust health Web sites to provide accurate information. Recommendations from family and friends play the most important role in choosing doctors, hospitals, or health plans, the survey found. More than seven out of 10 respondents said they trust doctors and R.Ph.s for accurate information about prescription drugs. Only 9% said they have "a lot" of trust, and 31% said they have "some" trust in health Web sites for such information.

Michael F. Conlan


Mike Conlan. Survey finds Americans support mandatory reporting of errors. Drug Topics 2001;1:12.