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Increased Workload = Increased Medical Errors?

They throw around that lame 98,000 preventable deaths per year statistic, but the survey is still quite telling.

More than one third of 890 hospitalists surveyed stated that their workload exceeded safe levels on at least a weekly basis.

As a result of this increased workload, 22% of doctors stated that they had delayed admissions or discharges, 10% stated that they had failed to promptly note/follow up/act on a critical lab value or radiology report, and 7% stated that they had made a treatment or medication error.

In addition, 22% of doctors believed that they had ordered potentially unnecessary testing, 12% believed that the quality of care they provided had worsened, and 5% said that it was possible/likely/or definite that a patient died due to the increased workload.

As more and more doctors become employees of hospitals, I wonder how long it will take before hospital CEOs and administrators start being named in malpractice lawsuits (no malpractice caps on non-physicians, folks) for inadequately staffing the hospitals.


  1. Cape Cod Stepmom

    Even as a layperson this doesn’t surprise me at all…and I think those doing the staffing and making the decisions should be held as a responsible party

  2. In our region, the small community hospitals have essentially ceased inpatient care and send everything to the larger centers. The larger centers are running at 95-100% beds filled with the ERs overflowing. Because of the increase in selp pay and government payors, the hospitals are still losing money; especially the centers that take the dumps from the outside hospitals.

    It all works out to economics. You get what you pay for. If you cant afford more hospitalists and nurses, you cant. The good thing is all the new regulations make you pay for things like EMRs and Press-gainey instead of doctors and nurses.

  3. I am so saddened to see what has become of this profession. The public is so unaware of the reality that has become our life today, if one works in healthcare. So pitiful. Why? All for the almighty dollar!

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