Apr 14 2014
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Improvements to Dermatology Curriculum and Residency Training Could Improve Patient Safety, Study Finds

Modifications to curricula, systems, and teacher development may be needed to bring down medical error rates among dermatology residents, according to a study published online by JAMA Dermatology.

The survey of 142 dermatology residents from 44 residency programs in the United States and Canada draws attention to several areas of concern. According to the survey:

  • Just over 45 percent of the residents failed to report needle-stick injuries incurred during procedures;
  • Nearly 83 percent reported cutting and pasting a previous author’s patient history information into a medical record without confirming its validity;
  • Nearly 97 percent reported right-left body part mislabeling during examination or biopsy; and
  • More than 29 percent reported not incorporating clinical photographs of lesions sampled for biopsy in the medical records at their institutions. 

Also, nearly three in five residents reported working with at least one attending physician who intimidates them, reducing the likelihood of reporting safety issues. More than three-quarters of residents (78 percent) have witnessed attending physicians ignoring required safety steps.

The study emphasizes the need to modify systems in order to improve communications with patients and between health care team members, to establish processes that reduce patient and physician injuries, and to create environments free of intimidation.

“What can be taken from this paper isn’t gloom and doom,” researcher Erik Stratman, MD, told Reuters Health. “Part of medicine in today’s world is finding where you can improve and working on those areas to get better.”

Read the study in JAMA Dermatology.  

Tags: Health Care Education and Training, Health Care Quality, Research & Analysis