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Saving New York patients from hospital miscommunications

Hospitals are mainly concerned about the health of their patients as well as the quality of the medical services they are giving. Hospitals all over the country, including those in Queens, New York, agree with this fact. Despite this, a medical error, which may lead to worsened conditions, permanent disability or patient injury, is still a problem in hospitals.

However, hospitals can actually avoid these mistakes by addressing the root cause. Miscommunication between doctors and hospital staff may result in medical errors and drug administration errors. Miscommunication usually happens during patient handoffs and staff shift changes. A recent study released by The Journal of the American Medical Association recommended that hospitals should adopt a standardized communication during patient handoffs without changing the existing workflows.

The recent study introduced a system featuring a new team handoff structure, standardized communication and handoff training. With the new system, an interactive workshop may provide training on how to give and receive handoffs with all needed information. The staff needs to learn how to convey information during exchanges without distractions and interruptions as well.

Researchers from Boston Children's Hospital also found that there has been a decrease in omissions and miscommunications between staff during handoffs after the intervention. Medical errors were also reduced by almost 46 percent.

The patient's health or recovery from an illness is in the hands of the doctors and hospital staff. Any kind of miscommunication between doctors or hospital staff can pose a serious danger to the patient's life. It may not only lead to medical errors but also more hospital expenses for the person and the family.

Miscommunication in New York hospitals can be considered doctor errors or hospital negligence. If doctor miscommunication results in a medical error, the patient involved may be entitled to compensation by means of a medical malpractice claim.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, "Better handoff communication reduces medical errors," Ilene MacDonald, Dec. 4, 2013

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