Medical Error Rate High in U.S.

A new study published in Health Affairs found that “[t]he United States often stands out with high medical errors and in-efficient care and has the worst performance for access/cost barriers and financial burdens.”

The study looked at the health care delivery systems in Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

The study reports that “p]atients in the United States reported the highest rate of disorganized care at doctor’s offices – 33 percent – followed by Germany with 26 percent, Canada with 24 percent and New Zealand with 21 percent. Patients in Britain and Australia reported 19 percent.” The study also found that “U.S. patient-reported lab error rates were significantly higher than the other five countries, with rates double those reported in Germany and the United Kingdom. Lab error rates were also relatively high in Canada.”

The study also reports that “[d]espite studies that patients value discussion about mistakes or errors, most patients (61-83 percent) in each country said that the doctor or health professional involved did not tell them about the mistake. Countries differed greatly on the likelihood of discussions: New Zealanders were the most likely and Germans the least likely to report that conversations had occurred.”

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Thanks to William Pintas for telling me about this article.