Developing and maintaining a culture of quality is essential to effective health care. In fact, it can quite literally mean the difference between life and death. Back in May, Johns Hopkins Medicine released a study in the British Medical Journal suggesting that medical errors actually account for 10% of deaths in the U.S., making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Yet, errors are currently not being reported this way. In fact, NPR writes that according to the study, "no one knows the exact toll taken by medical errors." Why is this?
The Johns Hopkins study argues that the way in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect "national health statistics fails to classify medical errors separately on the death certificate." As a result, the study argues, the data "doesn't capture things like communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, and poor judgment that cost lives." According to Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an authority on health reform,