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Organized Hospital Conversations Reduce Medical Errors By 30 Percent

A new program, aimed at improving communication between doctors, has reduced medical errors by 30 percent.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland was one of nine hospitals around North America to try out the new system, designed for when doctors hand off patients at the end of their shifts.

Researcher Megan Aylor said what they did was train everyone to stick to the same script - so the patients’ medications, temperature, and risk factors were all discussed and logged into a computer the same way.

“We were very pleased to see that the number of medical errors decreased post intervention and that the number of preventable adverse events also decreased,” said Aylor.

The new system has three key strategies. First, pointing out which patients are the sickest; second, anticipating what may go wrong and what should be done if that happens; and finally, a read-back, so the doctor taking over the new patient repeats back to the doctor going home what’s just been said.