Are we becoming better at judging the quality of medical care? Are we making better choices of medical providers? Unfortunately, we seem to know more but not apply what we know to decision-making.
Although Americans have developed a better understanding of medical errors over the past two years, they haven’t made gains in using quality data to make decisions about their care. According to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 55% of Americans said they understand what the term “medical error” means, up from 43% in 2004 and 31% in 2002. Also, 43% said they believe preventable medical errors occur somewhat or very often.
However, 36% of those polled said they’ve seen information that compares the quality of care from health plans, physicians, and hospitals, but only 20% say they’ve used it to make healthcare decisions. These numbers are unchanged from the previous survey, conducted in 2004.
Florida has its share of wonderful and competent medical providers and facilities. But, sadly, it continues to have those who are, shall we say, medical-error-prone. Rolling the dice in selecting a provider or care is not a good play.