Lack of care coordination blamed for oncology-related errors in VA hospitals

In Veterans Affairs hospitals, a recent study found the most frequently reported oncology-related medical errors were directly linked to a lack of care coordination between providers and care locations, according to a post in the Journal of Clinical Pathways.

The study was published in the Journal of Oncology Practice. To find how and why adverse events happened and how to avoid future errors, researchers looked at the National Center for Patient Safety adverse event reporting database for root cause analyses related to oncology care from October 2013 to September 2017.

Some of the most common causes were a breakdown in policy or process (39.8 percent) or insufficient communication (31.1 percent). The second-most frequently reported adverse event involved chemotherapy errors.

Other adverse events included issues with radiation; outcomes of suicide during cancer diagnosis, treatment or follow-up; and other events linked to following care instructions.

Oncology-related medical errors made up over half (52.1 percent) of all reported adverse events, with about 26 percent of care delays resulting in patient deaths, the study found.

To prevent adverse events, the study authors suggest establishing cancer centers to streamline care coordination with multiple providers.

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