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Closing the compliance gap: A clinical competency checklist

Member Tool - April 1, 2020

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A study published by Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2016 suggested that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. The study indicated that more than 250,000 people have died as a result of these errors annually. However, the number is actually higher because national health statistics collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fail to classify medical errors separately on the death certificates.  Therefore, “incidence rates for deaths directly attributable to medical care gone awry haven’t been recognized in any standardized method for collecting national statistics,” says Martin Makary, MD, MPH, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an authority on health reform1.  

More recent studies claim that the number may be as high as 440,000 deaths annually. While all the studies seem to focus on hospital medication errors, it would be interesting to determine how many more sentinel or harmful events may be attributed to errors caused in a private practice setting. Until there is a better way of reporting causes of death, the total number may not be known.

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About the Author

Linda Ratner RN, BSN, MBA, CMPE
President Ratner Consulting
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