Patient safety and reduction of preventable medical error is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Medical errors are leading cause of the death in United State. The Institute of Medicine USA, (IOM) reported the annual number of deaths in hospitals from medical errors to be between 44’000 and 98’000 in 1999. More people die in USA because of medical errors than breast cancers and AIDS. Medical error is the fifth largest disease in the USA. According to an article in “The Telegraph’ dated 6th January 2009, the deaths caused by hospital mistakes have gone up to 60 percent.
If we use the similar statistics in India, the figure would be horrified; but the biggest catastrophe is that we do not have documented evidences. Medical error goes down the linen in India. A recent figure from WHO quoting that “medical errors come in the top 10 causes of deaths in India”.
Patient safety and medical error seems to be double edged swords in the current healthcare scenario. Safety and error are the two arms of the individual, with one arm he makes the mistake and with another arm he set it right. Innovation and technology can save lives and improve the quality of care on other hand it introduces the complexities and risk element if used unsafely.