One-fifth of American adults have been at the receiving end of a medical error, a new survey finds.
The nationwide poll included more than 2,500 adults. The survey also found that one in three people said another person whose care they were closely involved with had experienced a medical error.
Most medical errors were associated with diagnosis and patient-provider communications. Outpatient settings were a common site of medical errors.
On average, respondents who experienced a medical error identified at least seven different factors that caused the error. Nearly half of those who noted an error told medical staff or other workers at the health care facility about it.
Most people feel that health care providers have the prime responsibility for patient safety. But survey participants also said that patients and their families have a role, too.
Still, most people said they didn’t worry personally about patient safety, the survey found.
When medical errors occur, they often have lasting impact on the patient’s physical and emotional health, finances, or family relationships.
The survey was done by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago.
“The survey results show that Americans recognize that patient safety is a critically important, but complex, issue,” Dr. Tejal Gandhi, chief clinical and safety officer, IHI, and president of the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute, said in an organization news release.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers tips to prevent medical errors.