Talking to patients and families could cut down on harmful medical errors
A new study suggests a simple idea could help curb medical errors: talk to patients and families more. Researchers tested a program designed toimprove communication during rounds, when providers check in each day about a hospitalized patient’s care. It lays out a set of steps: go to a patient's bedside, ask if the patient or family has any concerns, explain the treatment plan without any medical jargon, and then make sure they understood. Researchers taught the program to providers at seven U.S. hospitals and found that the rate of harmful, preventable errors fell by 38 percent. The takeaway: “Families are really valuable, but sometimes underrecognized, part of care,” says study author Dr. Alisa Khan.