Administrative errors made when managing your health caused 10 times the death from car crashes in the US at 440K deaths per year. In fact, it’s the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA after heart disease and cancer (see Consumer Reports May 4, 2016). As a cancer graduate, this is near and dear to my heart.
I have personally experienced administrative errors in Canada and they are alive and well. In my particular circumstance, they had forgotten to tell me that I had been diagnosed with cancer. For my surgery, I circled the part being operated on with a marker and got a “that’s a very good idea” from the attendant. When my son was in one of the top hospitals in Canada, we corrected at least 3 administrative errors since there were lag times between when the doctor entered notes into the computer system and when the nurse visited.
In the USA, Consumer Reports is asking Americans to send a letter to their representative in support of a National Patient Safety Board (similar to the National Transportation Safety Board & the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Follow link here to find a suggested letter:
What can you do as a patient? Try to bring to all your appointments a second pair of eyes and both of you take good notes, ask lots of questions and do your research. For the hospital, this person will be your advocate since there will be a lot of activity. If you don’t have such a person, you might want to think about hiring a nurse to help you out. More important than a good doctor (a nice to have) is an administratively efficient medical team since even with a good doctor a small mistake by anyone on the team could kill you. Remember, they are human too and not infallible.