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Do Overscheduled Doctors Increase the Risk of Medical Errors?

If you have visited the doctor lately, you may have noticed that healthcare providers seem to be cramming as many patients as possible in to their busy schedules. While the practice may help you get into see the doctor sooner, as San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, we are concerned that the hectic pace could result in medical errors.

According to a 2012 study, the concerns are not unfounded. It confirmed that rushed doctors and medical staff could be putting patients at risk.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality survey found that more than 70 percent of medical staff surveyed feel rushed or hurried when treating patients. In addition, 52 percent reported that there are more patients than can be handled by number of doctors and other healthcare workers in the office. Finally, an alarming 41 percent feel that their office has too many patients to be able to handle everything effectively.

As reported by American Medical News, the results of the survey confirm that trying to see more patients in smaller periods of time is greatly straining medical professionals. Experts added that the hectic pace is dangerous because it can lead to errors with medication, cause doctors to miss test results, and could potentially lead to unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

“In many practice situations, the pace just does feel too fast,” said David Shute, M.D., medical director of GreenField Health, an eight-physician primary care clinic in Portland, Ore. “It’s well understood that when humans are given too many tasks to focus on at once and there is too much time pressure, the error rates go up. This survey highlights a big problem.”

While the survey suggests that medical facilities need to slow down and take steps to address the problem, most survey respondents noted that patient safety was not always a top priority. 51 percent of respondents said the clinics’ owners aren’t investing enough resources to improve the quality of care. Nearly a third agreed that in this office, getting more work done is more important than quality of care.

If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.