Medical errors affect 20% of Massachusetts residents: 4 report findings

One in 5 Massachusetts residents experienced a medical error between 2013 and 2018, according to a new report cited by The Boston Globe.

The Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety conducted the report, which looks at the financial and human costs of medical errors in Massachusetts. The state agency analyzed 2013 claims data to assess the type and number of errors occurring over one year, along with their estimated healthcare costs. Researchers also interviewed 253 residents who experienced a medical error or had a relative experience one in the last five years.

Four report findings:

1. Massachusetts experienced 61,982 medical errors in one year, which translated into an estimated $617 million in excess health insurance claims.

2. Sixty-six percent of survey respondents said they had less trust in healthcare after a medical error.

3. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they were not satisfied with healthcare providers' communication after an error.

4. Of those who experienced a medical error in the last two years, 64 percent said they still avoid the healthcare facility where it occurred.

"Our findings on the mitigating effects of open communication on emotional harm and healthcare avoidance strongly suggest that patients and providers alike would benefit from implementation of proven programs that facilitate difficult conversations following adverse events," researchers concluded.

To view the full report, click here.

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