Several recent studies focusing on cognitive research have shown some promise
in reducing medical mistakes and improving patient safety. As
San Diego medical malpractice attorneys, we strongly support efforts to reduce the number of deaths from medical
errors, which, as one of the studies aptly noted, is “equivalent
to a 727 (jet) or two crashing every day of the year.”
The studies, which highlight the important role psychology can play in
healthcare, are published in a special issue of the American Psychological
Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. They
address issues such as threats to patient safety due to provider errors
in diagnosis, medication, and surgery as well as patient issues such as
decision-making regarding illness prevention and self-care.
“These studies examine the cognitive issues related to a wide range
of important safety problems in various health care scenarios, from hospital
operating rooms to young adult education programs about sexually transmitted
disease,” said Daniel G. Morrow, PhD, of the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign. Morrow and Francis T. Durso, PhD, of the Georgia
Institute of Technology, introduced and edited the articles.
Below is a small sample of the research findings:
- Nurses who recognize patient identification errors before giving medication
appear to visually scan information differently from nurses who more frequently
make mistakes, according to one study.
- An analysis of eye movement data from surgical nurses found that visual
attention and dealing with interruptions directly relates to performance
during operations, reported another.
- Surgeons doing minimally invasive surgery, which involves inserting instruments
through small incisions and looking at tissues with a camera, may improve
performance by using multiple camera views, researchers concluded.
The American Psychological Association