Online Nursing CE Courses

Eliminating Medical Errors in Radiology

Author: Joann C. Wilcox, RN, MSN, LNC

3 Continuing Ed Credits - Nursing

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Medical errors have been determined to be a major problem in our health care system. In the first report from the Institute of Medicine, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System (2000), it was stated that as many as 98,000 patients hospitalized in this country die each year as a result of errors committed in their care.  At this rate, deaths due to medical errors, exceeds the number of people who die from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS. Since this data was found to be alarming when published, it led to multiple changes in the way patient care was delivered in an effort to reduce this number. The report and the number 98,000 deaths remain as the report that truly caught the attention of many, both within and outside of the healthcare environment.

Thirteen years later, the 2013 Journal of Patient Safety reported that the number of hospitalized patient deaths related to “…some preventable harm” (James, 2013) is actually between 210,000 and 440,000.  This number of deaths was determined as the result of recent studies which indicated that serious adverse events occurred in at least 21 percent of 4,200 cases reviewed with lethal adverse events as “high as 1.4% of these cases (2013).  The methods used to determine this number are believed by many patient safety experts to lead to greater accuracy than what was achieved in 2000.


After studying the information presented, the reader should be able to: