News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Hospitals will be safer if we learn from mistakes

Thursday, 3 August 2006

Hospitals will be safer if we learn from mistakes

The health system needs to learn from mistakes in order to make our hospitals a safer place, according to a paper in this week’s New Zealand Medical Journal, published by the New Zealand Medical Association.

“Doctors need to feel comfortable reporting mistakes. When mistakes are investigated then the underlying system flaws that allow them to occur can be identified and fixed, and this will improve the safety in our hospitals,” says NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.

The paper, Learning from mistakes in New Zealand hospitals: what else do we need besides “no-fault”? showed that doctors are very likely to report major mistakes. They are also very likely to report minor mistakes to patients, but rather less likely to report them through hospital administrative systems.

The author, Farzad Soleimani from Stanford University, suggests that to learn from mistakes, we need to have a system that not only facilitates the reporting of major errors but also encourages the reporting of minor ones.

The author suggests that it may be necessary to provide legal protection to prevent the media publication of errors in order to decrease the barriers to reporting. For example, a recent law change in Florida for mandatory publication of quality assurance data led to reduced reporting of errors, reducing the opportunities for learning from them.

“Finger pointing and blaming of individuals - the ‘name, shame and blame’ environment -- achieves very little in the way of increased quality,” said Dr Boswell.

The NZMJ study was conducted to give a more in-depth understanding of some of the key factors influencing medical error reporting behaviours of New Zealand doctors. It aims to offer some guidelines about creating an environment in which learning from mistakes is carried out in a more open and effective manner.

“Doctors are human and we all sometimes make mistakes, just like everyone else. We need to ensure that our systems are improved to catch mistakes before harm occurs, so that standards of care are improved,” said Dr Boswell.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Reuben Moss' Property is Theft! & Kaitani at The Physics Room

Property is Theft! continues Moss’ interest in the contemporary urban environment as a space controlled by pulsing and unequal flows of capital and labour. Kaitani features work by the University of Canterbury Fijian Students Association and Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka. More>>

Handcrafted Form: Rare Treasures From Japan

This unique exhibition at Expressions Whirinaki represents 90 everyday objects made by contemporary Japanese artisans who employ various traditional craft techniques made in regional workshops. The works used in daily life are crafted from raw materials with techniques appropriate to bringing out the best of its medium, balancing ease of use with aesthetic appeal. More>>

Howard Davis Article: A Musical Axis - Brahms, Wagner, Sibelius

Brahms' warm and exquisitely subtle Symphony No. 3 in F major, Wagner's irrepressibly sentimental symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, and Sibelius' chilling and immensely challenging Violin Concerto in D minor exemplify distinct stages of development in a tangled and convoluted series of skirmishes that came to define subsequent disputes about the nature of post-Romantic orchestral writing well into the following century. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: A Pale Ghost Writer

Reviewed by Ruth Brassington, Richard Flanagan's new novel is about a novelist hastily ghost-writing the biography of a crook about to go to trial. The reader is kept on a cliff-edge, as the narrator tries to get blood out of his stone man. More>>

New Zealand Wars Commemoration: Witi Ihimaera's Sleeps Standing Moetū

The second of several articles to mark Rā Maumahara, remembering the New Zealand Land Wars. The first was a Q&A with Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland