Survey: 1 in 5 Americans say they've experienced a medical error

More than 20 percent of Americans say they have experienced a medical error, according to a recent survey.

The independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the survey in partnership with the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and with funding from Medtronic. For the survey, NORC polled a nationally representative sample of 2,536 adults between May 12 and June 26 about their experience with medical errors.

Here are five survey findings.

1. Twenty-one percent of respondents reported personally experiencing a medical error and 31 percent reported involvement in the care of someone who experienced a medical error.

2. The most common types of medical errors involved diagnoses. Fifty-nine percent of respondents who either experienced medical errors personally or as caregivers said the error involved a medical issue that went undiagnosed, was diagnosed incorrectly or received a delayed diagnosis.

3. When given a list of 23 factors that could have contributed to a medical error, respondents most commonly cited "healthcare providers who do not pay attention to detail" as the main reason for the error.

4. Forty-five percent of respondents who experienced a medical error notified medical personnel, and 32 percent of respondents reported learning of the error from a provider or facility staff.

5. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said patient safety has stayed the same over the last five years, 29 percent said it's improved, and 12 percent said it has gotten worse.

To view the full report, click here.

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