Transparency was created
The authors mention the error reporting system CIRSmedical Germany, the patient safety optimization system (PaSOS) used in anesthesiology, and two further error reporting systems used in preclinical emergency medicine and geriatric care. No mention was made of the assessors’ Medical Error Reporting System (MERS), which was developed by Germany’s arbitration and review boards.
These institutions check whether a patient was subjected to treatment errors and whether a causal relation exists with the reported health problem. Decisions made by arbitration boards will be shared with the patient, the doctor’s or hospital’s professional indemnity insurers, and the reviewer consulted by the arbitration board.
MERS has shown that in 2008, in 2090 out of 7133 cases of arbitration, errors were noted—including deficiencies in how risk was communicated. The results are presented to the public every year by the German Medical Association in collaboration with the arbitration boards. The results are in the public domain (www.bundesaerztekammer.de, www.schlichtungsstelle.de).
Publication of the results creates transparency about error related health problems in Germany. Medical problem areas are identified on a statistically sound basis. The arbitration boards publish the results regularly in their medical journals. Doctors and lawyers in the arbitration boards give presentations about the results gained by using MERS. The boards thus make a valuable contribution to error prevention and increasing patient safety. The work of the arbitration boards and MERS should not be omitted from an article on patient safety and error management.
Prof. Dr. med. Walter Schaffartzik
Schlichtungsstelle für Arzthaftpflichtfragen der norddeutschen Ärztekammer
Verein für Berufsgenossenschaftliche Heilbehandlung Berlin e.V.
Warener Str. 7
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that no conflict of interest exists according to the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
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