In another instance, Stella Lee, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and her colleagues were prompted to study the impact of quality improvement measures on the delivery of allergy immunotherapy (Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015;5:513-516). “There was a need to evaluate preventable system-wide errors in order to make changes in the way allergy delivery was provided,” she recalls. “We realized the importance of not only reporting errors, but also the need to be proactive in tracking and analyzing the errors so that meaningful change could be made.”
Explore this issue:December 2015
After studying and analyzing errors related to subcutaneous immunotherapy, Dr. Lee’s institution developed a systems-wide initiative to make changes to prevent future errors and also improve the quality of patient care. “It was not an easy process, and instituting change was initially met with resistance,” she said. “But the efforts were measurable and positive. Having a quality metric in place allows for a quantitative approach to problems and the acknowledgement that improvements can be made. Quality measures are already being utilized to determine hospital and physician reimbursement. It is important that we participate in defining these metrics rather than letting them be defined for us.”
Admitting error in medicine is not easy, but the importance of admitting error can’t be understated. Do yourself, your colleagues, and your patients a favor—admit error, learn from it, and move forward.
Karen Appold is a freelance medical writer based in New Jersey.