AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. September 2011, Volume 13, Number 9.

Ethics Poll

Patient Safety and Medical Error

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

In the last 10 years, many formerly hand-written aspects of patient care have become computerized, from physician entry of treatment orders and prescriptions to patient medical records. Do you think this step from hand-documentation to computerized entry and retrieval will contribute to patient safety and error reduction or introduce more opportunity for error?
One suggestion for reducing the cost of medical malpractice litigation is the establishment of administrative health courts. In health courts, the decision is reached and compensation assigned by a trained judge, rather than by a jury. The injured party does not need to have a lawyer (but may have one) and must prove only that his or her injury could have been avoided if best practices had been followed, not that the physician was negligent. Compensation is based on the severity of the injury and precedent cases and is capped, meaning that compensation for given injuries cannot exceed given amounts. Which of the following best describes your response to the idea of health courts?
Have you ever received an apology from a physician or medical professional for an adverse treatment outcome?
Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of our readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.