One of the benefits of following HBR on Twitter (@HarvardBiz) is the Daily Stat. Here's today's: Fatal Medication Mistakes Spike in July:

Yikes! Last year, I wrote about research on reducing errors with better communications. The study was done by David Hoffman, professor of organizational behavior/strategy at UNC’s
Kenan-Flagler Business School:

Research shows how to encourage employees to seek help when they need it

by Margot Carmichael Lester

The statistics related to medical errors are staggering:

• On average, Americans are treated correctly only 54 percent of the time. (New England Journal of Medicine study, 2003)

• Approximately 1.16 million patient safety incidents occurred in over 40 million hospitalizations in the Medicare population alone. (HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study, 2007)

• 1 of every 10 patients who died within 90 days of surgery did so because of a preventable error. (Department of Health & Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study, 2008)

The vast majority of medical errors that are uncovered are preventable. As a result, medical centers around the country are trying to understand what causes errors and how they can prevent them. One way to reduce the negative impact of errors is to make sure that help and expertise is available to front line employees when they encounter complex patient reactions that are not fully understood. In addition to being available, however, front line employees must also perceive that asking for help is valued and encouraged.

Click here to read the full report.


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