Friday, March 18, 2011

From KevinMD: Using Different ERs Can Lead to Errors

A recent post on, "Danger of multiple emergency room visits to different hospitals," warns that making multiple trips to different emergency rooms (ERs) could cause many problems - both to patients' health and to their checkbooks.
"Patients who visited multiple ERs were exposed to the risk of medical errors, adverse events, delays in their treatment while waiting for more information and duplication of testing which added costs. Patients who visited more than two different sites racked up nearly twice the bill ($12,050 on average) compared with patients who went to the same sites ($7,465)."
The post by Jeffrey I. Kreisberg, PhD, discusses the implications of a study recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine, "Patients Treated at Multiple Acute Health Care Facilities: Quantifying Information Fragmentation," by Fabienne C. Bourgeois, MD, MPH; Karen L. Olson, PhD; Kenneth D. Mandl, MD, MPH.

There are multiple reasons why a patient might choose to visit different ERs... and in theory, doing so shouldn't cause errors or jumps in cost.  However, as Dr. Kreisberg observes, many providers have not yet become truly invested in using electronical medical records (EMRs) which could reduce errors. 

The Josie King Foundation provides a free app so that patients can manage their own electronic records.  Click here to learn more.

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