Mistakes and near misses are more likely to occur during preoperative care and care of the elderly, suggests a French study.
The study of almost 9,000 patients in 292 wards in private and public hospitals found an error rate of 6.6 per 1,000 days of inpatient stay.
Over a third of incidents were considered preventable, with invasive procedures the most prone to error, adding up to 190,000 preventable mistakes every year.
Breathing, gut, and heart problems were associated with the highest number of mistakes, with breathing problems considered to have the highest rate of preventable errors.
Ward staff found it difficult to pinpoint the extent to which care was involved, suggesting that almost half (41%) of errors would have occurred in the absence of medical care.
Quality and Safety in Healthcare (2007) 16: 369-377