Medical mistakes in New Jersey

    This is the first year the health department is disclosing major medical mistakes at each hospital.

    For the first time, New Jersey hospitals have disclosed their major medical errors in the state’s annual hospital performance report. For most of the listed mistakes, New Jersey hospitals did better than the national average. But they’ve found ways to improve.
    Listen: [audio:091014kghospital.mp3]

    New Jersey hospitals did slightly worse than the national average on two of 12 types of medical errors. They both relate to post-operative problems.

    Carolyn Bekes is the chief medical officer at Cooper University Hospital. She says hospitals can target these errors for improvement and also the way they report mistakes in general.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Bekes: Most remarkable thing I think is the variability in some of the data, and I think that relates to some of the difficulties in data collection. In particularly if you look at something called obstetric trauma, the rates vary all over the place.

    Bekes says much of that variability could be corrected by implementing electronic record keeping, something Cooper is working on.

    Kerry McKean Kelley is the New Jersey Hospital Association’s spokeswoman. She says heart care, coronary interventions and stroke care have seen the best improvements. Part of that is due to the public reporting itself.

    Kelley: It focuses your attention on problem areas. It provides the transparency that brings data improvement to the forefront. And it’s important to know where you stand so you know where you can improve.

    New Jersey’s health commissioner says the report show that, overall, hospitals in the state have been improving in the quality of their care.

    More info:
    Read the NJ hospital report

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal