Doing something.

robert bell rmsbell200 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Oct 31 23:51:44 UTC 2015

Dear All,

We have talked in the past about how long it takes for major breakthroughs to become accepted around the world.

Barry Marshall and Robin Warren’s peptic ulceration H. pylori and antibiotic treatment come to mind. If I am correct I think that took something like 10 years to be fully accepted in the US. Caution is sensible, with new treatments, but 10 years.

This made me think of our progress in Errors in Medicine. Some think that we have done little since the IOM report.

I published the following article recently entitled Errors In Medicine - Do Something Now!

Made available with permission from ILM.

Recently I thought to myself that nothing is likely to happen with this endeavor, particularly the idea that all doctors offices have a Safety Officer appointed to collect and periodically discuss errors that occur in the practice. I thought that this seemed so basic that all should do it tomorrow! Then I asked myself what were the impediments to introduction? Money, salaries, titles, the hassle of it all, and the extra work that staff members would have to involve themselves in. 

But then I thought that those were probably not the major impediments and that it was more likely to involve keeping records and memories of the errors that could then be discovered in oral or paper discovery for a subsequent litigation case. Probably the very reason that few hospitals keep decent records of errors that have occurred. And with common sense it should be possible to come to an acceptable solution to this impediment.

So if 100,000 or more are dying every year what is the answer? It seems as though we need “Specific Solution Solving Societies/sub-committees" to find out what are the impediments to big progress issues and then for the members to work with a passion to change the current situation. 

I could be wrong, but could it be that the Specialty Societies themselves are too insular, too conservative with entrenched resistance to change, too secretive (and is that from the academic overtones that need to keep everything secret for the publishing or perishing success needed to survive?), and somehow lack the drive and enthusiasm to break through, etc.  etc.?

I notice that in many other societies that there is a similar reluctance to get involved and get something accomplished. Technology seems to be taking up so much of our time that many organized societies are losing membership and apparently lacking enthusiasm to reverse the change. Some art e trying in some ways and some Churches, according to the Wall Street Journal are experimenting with Beer Making Clubs to try and increase Church membership on Sundays.

Also, another thing is that list serves like this are not very interested in talking about how to achieve change. Contributors it would seem are interested in talking about the problems at length, but not very often, on how to solve the problem.

The answers to all this are hard to find, but thought I would put a few ideas on “paper."

Rob Bell, M.D., Ph.C.

Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

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