A blog we posted earlier this week discussed how medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans per year. Patient misidentification is one reason medical errors occur. When patients with similar or identical names are mixed up, they can receive the wrong diagnosis or medications. The health outcomes for these patients can be fatal or life-altering. However, New Jersey is rolling out a program that will attempt to reduce the number of these errors in our state.
The New Jersey Innovation Institute is working to create a Master Person Index that will gather health records of every person in the state. Patient records will be gathered from and shared between hospitals, medical clinics, urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Records from the New Jersey Department of Health will also be included in the database to ensure patients with the same names are not mixed up.
A pilot version of the Master Person Index was rolled out in late July. University Hospital and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center are currently sharing this patient information. According to proponents of this new program, the Master Person Index will improve medical care and prevent patient misidentification errors.
Will the Master Person Index Prevent All Medical Errors?
There are other types of medical errors that the Master Person Index may be unable to prevent. That is because this new system appears poised to stop medical errors that arise from patient misidentification. Our blog last week discussed other reasons why medical errors happen. Poor communication during hand-offs, birth injuries, inadequate sanitation policies and other forms of substandard care may still occur in hospitals.
The Atlantic City medical negligence lawyers at Donald G. Targan & Associates have decades of combined experience helping the victims of medical errors.