[Errors in medicine. Causes, impact and improvement measures to improve patient safety].
The guarantee of quality of care and patient safety is of major importance in hospitals even though increased economic pressure and work intensification are ubiquitously present. Nevertheless, adverse events still occur in 3-4 % of hospital stays and of these 25-50 % are estimated to be avoidable. The identification of possible causes of error and the development of measures for the prevention of medical errors are essential for patient safety. The implementation and continuous development of a constructive culture of error tolerance are fundamental.The origins of errors can be differentiated into systemic latent and individual active causes and components of both categories are typically involved when an error occurs. Systemic causes are, for example out of date structural environments, lack of clinical standards and low personnel density. These causes arise far away from the patient, e.g. management decisions and can remain unrecognized for a long time. Individual causes involve, e.g. confirmation bias, error of fixation and prospective memory failure. These causes have a direct impact on patient care and can result in immediate injury to patients. Stress, unclear information, complex systems and a lack of professional experience can promote individual causes. Awareness of possible causes of error is a fundamental precondition to establishing appropriate countermeasures.Error prevention should include actions directly affecting the causes of error and includes checklists and standard operating procedures (SOP) to avoid fixation and prospective memory failure and team resource management to improve communication and the generation of collective mental models. Critical incident reporting systems (CIRS) provide the opportunity to learn from previous incidents without resulting in injury to patients. Information technology (IT) support systems, such as the computerized physician order entry system, assist in the prevention of medication errors by providing information on dosage, pharmacological interactions, side effects and contraindications of medications.The major challenges for quality and risk management, for the heads of departments and the executive board is the implementation and support of the described actions and a sustained guidance of the staff involved in the modification management process. The global trigger tool is suitable for improving transparency and objectifying the frequency of medical errors.
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