Johns Hopkins has introduced a new program that is helping to reduce medical errors. The "Good Catch Awards" program encourages and rewards medical professionals for reporting possibly hazardous situations that could possibly result in medical malpractice. The basis of the program is that medication errors, surgical errors and the like are caused by a faulty system and rarely fall on one person alone.
Since Johns Hopkins has implemented the program, the number of reports received by the Patient Safety Network has increased dramatically. A resident anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Justin Hamrick, reported that the majority of the incidents were those that avoided any harm to patients but potentially could have. Researchers have defined these as "near misses."
The whole objective of the program is to identify problems and not lay blame. This includes reporting faulty machinery or making sure it is positioned correctly, safety checks in medications, or making sure the proper warning label is on a prescription. When clinicians report a problem, they win a "Good Catch Award" and are professionally recognized on the wall-boards in the surgical suite.
The president of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, Dr. Robert Stoelting, supports the program, stating that it is a step in the right direction in supporting health care facility safety. However, he doesn't believe it actually does anything to fundamentally correct the problems. Stoelting believes creating a national database for clinicians to report every problem would be a bigger step towards solving these issues.
Related Resource: Anesthesiology News, "Program Encourages Reporting Accidents Waiting to Happen" Sept. 2011 Issue