Parents Often Catch Hospital Errors

A study found that families may be a source for improving hospital safety and avoiding mistakes, as parents often catch errors that doctors miss. The study involved two pediatric units at a hospital in Boston. Analysis of safety incidents found that approximately one in ten parents found mistakes that physicians did not.

The lead study author, Dr. Alisa Khan, a pediatrics researcher at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, noted “Parents may notice different things than healthcare providers do, and thereby provide complementary information that can only help make care safer.” The data on 383 children hospitalized in 2013 and 2014 was analyzed; the study involved the parents completing written surveys detailing any safety incidents their children experienced during their admissions. Overall, 34 parents (8.9%) reported 37 safety incidents. Dr. Khan went on to say, “As anyone who has ever been hospitalized knows, hospitals are very complex places where there are a lot of moving parts, and errors are bound to happen despite all of our best efforts. I think we – including parents – can all work together to keep children safe.”

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