Doctors are unwilling to report colleagues for making medical mistakes, as we have discussed before. A new study from the University of Iowa shows that a significant number do not report their own, either, even though they believe they should.
Lauris Kaldijan, lead researcher for the study, had this to say about it:
Kaldjian said in an interview that he was encouraged that most of the doctors believed reporting errors was an important way to improve health care quality. But he said he was troubled by the fact that fewer than half of them would have reported the hypothetical error if it didn’t cause problems. He said doctors and other medical workers should take their cue from the airline industry, which encourages pilots to report every error so it can be analyzed for possible systemic flaws.
As the linked article notes, there are several positive aspects to this study. For instance, awareness of the problems caused by medical error has increased, and belief that errors should be reported is strong.