Navigation Links
Pages to Doctors Don't Always Hit the Mark
Date:6/19/2009

Mistakes can cause treatment delays and jeopardize care, review suggests,,,,

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Dr. Brian Wong, a physician and lecturer at the University of Toronto, was enjoying a rare Saturday off and not on call when his pager unexpectedly beeped.

"I answered the page, and there was the nurse on the other end quite frustrated because she had been calling repeatedly to try to get in touch with another doctor whose patient was having chest pains," he recalled.

Wong was eventually able to identify the correct doctor, but the confusion had been the result of a mistake many people make (but probably hope didn't take place in the health-care world): Two numbers on the pager had been transposed.

"The doctor had actually been available all day and wasn't reached because of a simple transcription error," Wong said. "Information from the paper-based schedule onto the white board hadn't been transferred correctly."

As it turns out, this was not an isolated incident. An investigation by Wong and other physicians, described in the June 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, turned up many similar occurrences.

A review of hospital records from two busy Canadian hospitals -- Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Toronto General Hospital, both affiliated with the University of Toronto -- during a two-month period in early 2008 found that 14 percent of in-hospital pages were sent to the wrong physician when that physician was off duty and out of the hospital.

Almost half of these needed a quick response: 15 percent were marked as emergencies, warranting an immediate reply, and 32 percent were marked urgent, meaning a response was needed within an hour.

The review found that 36 percent were sent during the "post-call" period, which is the day after an on-call shift, 22 percent were sent in the evening and 21 percent during scheduled academic half-days.

"A lot of them are examples of numbers being switched or a paper schedule that hadn't been updated," Wong said.

Although these misdirected pages did result in "delays and inefficiencies," the authors reported, they said it's not known if the mistakes actually resulted in patient harm.

The findings were much the same in both hospitals, even though each has different paging systems in place, suggesting that other hospitals might be experiencing similar woes.

A previous study of 14,000 hospital admissions had found that communication problems in general trumped even medication errors as a source of preventable disability or death.

The researchers are now looking into why these mistakes occurred and have been making changes in hospital systems.

"We started to investigate how it was that nurses identified doctors to page them," Wong explained. "We realized that the process was not standardized. Some people would look in charts, some on the white board, so we centralized that information in one place -- in an online Web-based paging system."

Wong said it takes him about two hours a month to maintain the system.

Physicians are also now divided into four teams, with one person in each team being responsible for answering pages during a shift. The paging system is set up to contact that doctor at the given time.

"The nurses don't have to think of a doctor," he said. "They can go on the computer, type in "Team A" and one option shows up, whereas in the past they couldn't do that. In a way, it's making nurses think of physicians as a role instead of a person."

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more on medical errors.



SOURCES: Brian Wong, M.D., lecturer, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto; June 8, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. The USO and CarePages.com Help Wounded Troops Stay Connected to Their Families
2. Just in Time for the Holidays, The USO and CarePages.com Launch Operation: Show You Care
3. Most Breast Cancer Web Pages Contain Reliable Information
4. Teamsters Warn of Possible Work Stoppages, Service Disruptions at AmerisourceBergen
5. Youre Not Alone: How Mothers of Children Born with Rare Condition Comfort and Support Each Other on CarePages.com
6. Jennifer & Gigi: A Story of Love and Compassion with a Hollywood Twist -- In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, CarePages.com celebrates "Grandma Gene" and gives a voice to the community of caregivers around the world
7. Three Women in Health Crises Go Online to Form Lifelong Friendships : Mothers of Boys with Cancer Find Support, Encouragement and Each Other at CarePages.com
8. UK junior doctors gaining less experience of common procedures
9. Doctors Often Miss High Blood Pressure in Kids
10. One-fourth of HIV patients believe their doctors stigmatize them
11. Annual flu shot cuts need for doctors visits, hospitalization among children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pages to Doctors Don't Always Hit the Mark
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... 31, 2016 , ... Phynd Technologies, Inc. announced recently the signing of three ... and Shore Medical Center – Somers Point, NJ. The new clients range in bed ... the breadth of Phynd’s solution and its interoperability. , Houston Methodist is a leading ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... In a recent interview ... and broadcast on New Rochelle, NY-based WVOX (1460 AM), leading medical insurance ... she calls the country’s “modern medical money maelstrom.” , During the interview with ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... ... Dr. Charles A. Ditta attained his Doctor of Medical Dentistry Degree from ... where he graduated in the top ten percentile of his class. Dr. Ditta has ... has been a member in good standing for thirty years in the American Dental ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... To meet ... to the healthcare industry, The University of Scranton is adding a Certificate in ... to a career in rapidly growing field of healthcare information. , Healthcare ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... , ... May 31, 2016 , ... Super Powder, a ... to on the go individuals and dedicated athletes, continues to transform the nutritional supplement ... with whey, pea and milk protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), alkaline minerals, wheat grass, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: AMBS), ... Neurology and Orphan Diseases, today announced that President & CEO ... conferences: SeeThru Equity MicroCap Conference   ... City , NY When: Tuesday, May 31 st ... Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 109 East 42 nd ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... May 26, 2016   Change Healthcare ... analytics, network solutions and technology-enabled services designed ... entered into a strategic channel partnership with ... software solutions and revenue cycle management services ... and rehabilitation clinics to optimize revenue, operational ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... and GERMANTOWN, Maryland , May ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced that ... with Therawis Diagnostics GmbH to develop and commercialize predictive assays ... market PITX2 as a marker to predict effectiveness of anthracycline ... "We are pleased to partner with Therawis, which ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: