What are the most common medical billing errors

Third leading cause of death medical errors?

According to one study, medical malpractice is believed to be the cause of more than 10 percent of all deaths in the United States

Most people in western countries die from diseases of the circulatory system, in Germany with 338,000 almost 40 percent. Most of them are older people over 65 years of age. Cancer, also known as malignant neoplasm, is the second most common cause of death in Germany with a good quarter of deaths and the most important in middle age. Of over 860,000 deaths in Germany in 2014, 34,667 were found to be an accident, suicide or intentional act, according to the Federal Statistical Office in a report published in 2016. Domestic accidents are the most common form of death here. There are 1,588 deaths reported as a result of complications from surgical interventions and medical treatment.

As in Germany, causes of death are also classified in the USA and in 115 other countries according to the International Classification of Disease (ICD). Medical treatment errors or errors are only partially listed under Y40-Y84 (Complications of medical and surgical care). Human or systemic errors would not be listed. Therefore, there are no reliable figures on how many people die from medical treatment. According to estimates, the numbers of which vary widely, between 210,000 and 400,000 hospital patients in the US die from their treatment, not from illness or injury.

After reviewing research into the (premature) death rate of hospital patients due to medical error, Martin Makary and Michael Daniel of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore put an estimate of 251,454 deaths in a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) 2013 or 9.5 percent of deaths - but this only affects those in hospitals, not deaths from outpatient treatment, in nursing homes or as a result of treatment at home.

These deaths from medical errors in hospitals alone, the number of which the authors consider to be too low, would make the cause of death "medical error" the third largest after diseases of the circulatory system (611,000) and cancer (585,000). More people would die from these causes, which in principle cannot be completely prevented, but can still be reduced, than from respiratory diseases (147,000), accidents (136,000), strokes (133,000) or Alzheimer's (93,000). For comparison: 34,000 people died in car accidents in 2013, the same number from firearms.

According to the authors, a medical error is considered an unintentional act. It doesn't have to harm the patient, but it can also have fatal consequences. Errors can occur at the individual or at the system level. According to the authors, errors cannot be eliminated, but the problem can be better understood in order to develop measures to reduce their frequency and to reduce their consequences. In some hospitals, attempts are made to record medical errors, but this is not done consistently in the USA and is also not required.

Martin Makary, one of the authors, complains: "We all know how widespread this is. We also know how seldom this is openly discussed." Human error is inevitable, the authors write, but one has to grasp the problems in order to improve avoidance and learn from mistakes. For example, the death certificate should also include the category stating that the death was caused by medical treatment. In general, medical errors are not adequately taken into account. This is understandable if the members of the profession who are responsible for the mistakes should also emphasize the negative consequences of their actions. (Florian Rötzer)

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