Higher medical error rates are a sign of more honesty in reporting, not less dangerous care (at least for a while) @MarkGraban @drsilenzi

Hospital error reports up slightly in Oregon — and that’s good news.

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian
Reports of errors in Oregon hospitals grew slightly last year, according to the Oregon Patient Safety Commission.But that might actually be good news.

The commission relies on voluntary reporting, and has been struggling to persuade hospitals to improve their reporting. More reports will allow the state to better improve safety, says Bethany Higgins, the commission’s executive director.

“You can clearly see that there’s improvement across the board with the quantity as well as the quality of the reports submitted, as well as the timeliness with which they are submitting them,” she said, adding, “We have a long ways to go.”

Lawmakers created the commission in 2003 as a collaboration between state officials and the health care industry, including hospitals. Its goal: improve patient safety by reporting on “adverse events” — more plainly, errors in health care.

The number of hospital errors reported in 2011 represents a slight improvement over prior years, but is still a tiny fraction of the number thought to be occurring and go unreported, based on research.

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