Starting today, Missouri will start tracking how, when and why medical errors happen.
Thanks to a new federal program the Missouri Center for Patient Safety is now an official Patient Safety Organization (PSO) . With that title is the ability to safely and anonymously collect and report information on medical errors throughout the state.
It’s the anonymity in this program that makes reporting easier for doctors and hospitals, said Spokesman Matt Heger.
"They can tell them anything and be as honest as possible about any kind of mistakes, any kind of potential mistakes and so we can learn from them without them having to fear any sort of legal or other ramifications," he said.
Until now, there was not a system detailing how often medical errors occur.
"It should help everyone," Heger said. "It should give patients knowledge that they’re going to be safe. It should give the state as a whole more information about what errors actually do exist so that we have a realistic idea of what’s going on in our hospitals and in our doctor’s offices."
Heger said the goal is to learn from medical errors and potential errors to keep them from continuing to happen.
"People should really care because without this information we don’t know how often errors happen and if we don’t know how often they really happen then we can’t learn from the mistakes and stop them from happening in the future," he said.
Missouri is one of the first states to have a PSO designation from the Agency for Health Research and Quality and the U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services.