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Special Address on How to Reduce Medical Errors

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

The issue of how to reduce medical errors - which a recent
federal report said could qualify as the 8th leading cause of
death in the United States - will be the topic of a special
address Thursday, Jan. 20, by Dr. John Eisenberg, director of
the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
(AHRQ).

Eisenberg then will team up with a panel of Duke researchers
to discuss evidence-based medicine, a form of research that
Duke specializes in that provides state-of-the-art clinical
information on what clinical practices work in which patients.
This is information that can help reduce medical mistakes.

Reporters are invited to attend the event, which will be
held starting at noon at the Terrace Level Lecture Hall of the
Duke Clinical Research Institute. Directions to the institute
are available by calling (919) 684-4148.

Last month, the AHRQ (formerly the Agency for Health Care
Policy and Research) was directed by President Clinton to
identify the causes of preventable health care errors and to
find ways of curtailing such mistakes. Clinton's order was in
response to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report issued in
early December that indicated that between 44,000 and 98,000
people die each year as a result of medical errors committed in
hospitals.

In his talk, Eisenberg will discuss medical errors and the
ramifications of the IOM report, focusing particularly on its
central finding that the key to reducing medical errors and
improving patient safety is to improve the health care system
and not to blame individual clinicians. He will describe the
ongoing process to respond to the IOM report and what steps
could be taken by health care systems to reduce errors.

Following the address, Eisenberg will join Duke researchers
in a public roundtable discussion of the value of
evidence-based medicine to help reduce medical errors.
Participating in the panel will be:

  • Dr. Robert Califf, cardiologist and director of the Duke
    Clinical Research Institute, the world's largest
    academic-based clinical trials organization. With 750-plus
    employees, DCRI collaborates with 3,120 sites in 49 countries
    to conduct trials on new medications and treatment
    practices.
  • Dr. Daniel Mark, who heads the 55-member Outcomes
    Analysis, Research and Assessment group within DCRI. The
    group focuses on such areas as quality and cost effectiveness
    of care.
  • Dr. David Matchar, director of the Duke Center for
    Clinical Health Policy Research, which is a federally
    designated "Evidence-based Practice Center."
  • Dr. Kevin Schulman, director of the Center for Clinical
    and Genetic Economics at DCRI, will moderate the panel.
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