New Study: Doctors Reluctant to Report Errors

A new study shows that although an overwhelming majority of doctors believe they should report colleagues who make serious medical errors or otherwise violate professional standards, most do not actually do so.

This hesitance to report colleagues is understandable. But it makes detecting, tracking and studying medical error very difficult.

The senior author of the study, Dr. David Blumenthal, says that he is optimistic because most doctors support existing standards and the lack of report is not due to disagreement over ethical obligations. He also notes that doctors who practice in groups of three or more are more likely to report than other doctors.

Another interesting result of the study is that one-third of doctors admit that they would order an unnecessary MRI. Given the costs and the possible side-effects of unnecessary testing, this fact may have consequences.

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