American endocrinologists aim to keep patients safe

As medicine becomes more complex and patients live longer and better lives, it also becomes more difficult to keep them safe.

More than 30 million Americans experience medical errors each year. To reverse this trend the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) sponsored a patient safety consensus conference with leading endocrinologists, other medical specialists and policymakers.

Recommendations announced today from the two-day conference include:

  • Using a team-based approach to care for patients which improve patient outcomes
  • Improving information technology to share vital medical information between caregivers, pharmacists, researchers, policymakers and patients
  • Expanding professional and patient education for better diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diabetes and other endocrine disorders

"The current system does not allow a mechanism for dialogue and analysis of medical errors. This conference provided an open forum for professionals from varied disciplines to review the research and evidence that supports the need for better care," said Richard Hellman, MD, FACE, AACE board member and conference chair.

"Accomplishing these initiatives requires a long-range commitment in terms of resources, personnel and funding, along with state and national support of a secure, workable error reporting system," stated John S. Kukora, MD, FACS, FACE, AACE board member and conference vice-chair.

The American College of Endocrinology and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists hosted the Patient Safety and Medical System Errors in Diabetes and Endocrinology Consensus Conference on January 9 and 10, 2005, in Washington, DC. At the conference, leading endocrinologists and other medical specialists reviewed evidence-based studies on medical errors and systemic issues of patient safety. Specific areas of concern included diabetes, osteoporosis, pediatric endocrinology, thyroid, bariatric surgery and cancer.

Other organizations that participated in this conference included American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Endocrine Nurses Society, International Society of Clinical Densitometry, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, National Committee for Quality Assurance. A formal position statement can be found at www.aace.com.

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