Doctor and patient smiling

The public believes errors result from systemic problems and that both health professionals and patients have a role in improving patient safety

The vast majority of Americans are having positive experiences with the healthcare system, but 21 percent of adults report having personally experienced a medical error, according to a new national survey released by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation (IHI/NPSF) Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago.

The survey further found that, when errors do occur, they often have a lasting impact on patients’ physical health, emotional health, financial well-being or family relationships. Among the survey’s other notable findings:

• Nearly half of those who perceived that an error had occurred brought it to the attention of medical personnel or other staff at the healthcare facility.
• Most respondents believe that, while healthcare providers are chiefly responsible for patient safety, patients and their families also have a role to play.
• When asked what caused the medical error they experienced, people identified, on average, at least seven different factors.

The nationwide survey of more than 2,500 adults was conducted from May 12 to June 26, 2017.

Access the press release  for more information and details related to the study.