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Medical errors are the third-highest cause of death in the United States according to a 2016 BMJ article. Only cancer and heart disease surpass medical errors as causes of death. According to a study by Johns Hopkins, approximately 250,000 patients die each year in the U.S. because of medical care—equivalent to 1 1/2 jumbo jets crashing daily in the U.S. alone!

It’s important for us to understand how this could happen in a healthcare system like ours. After all, we have the best-trained physicians and the most advanced facilities and technologies in the world. We spend 3.6 trillion dollars annually on healthcare, and still erroneous care causes a staggering amount of morbidity and mortality.

Clearly, medical errors are not, as a rule, the result of the actions of bad doctors or bad nurses; errors are more commonly caused by faulty systems, processes and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them. Human actions are inherently error prone; therefore, the Institute of Medicine concluded we can best prevent mistakes by designing health systems that make it harder for healthcare teams to provide “wrong” care and easier to provide care that is “right.”

To prevent medical errors, we must understand the different types of medical errors that occur and the underlying cognitive science that explains the human vulnerability that leads to different types of errors. Human cognitive processes are highly susceptible to bias—almost 200 types of cognitive bias have been identified Many of these biases powerfully influence medical decision-making and interventions, and understanding these biases is an important step in avoiding negative consequences. 

To learn more about medical errors, join us Tuesday, July 23, for the first of two webinars focused on understanding medical errors. The first webinar will discuss the classifications of errors and different types of errors we are prone to. The second webinar, on July 30, will shed light on different cognitive biases and their impact on mistakes and errors. We will also explore the ways in which technology, such as electronic health records (EHRs), can mitigate medical errors. Register now or learn more by clicking here.

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Dr. Betty Rabinowitz headshot

Dr. Betty Rabinowitz, MD FACP

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Betty Rabinowitz was appointed as our chief medical officer on April 19, 2018. She brings to this position more than 25 years of extensive clinical experience and expansive knowledge of population health and value-based practice transformation. In her role, Betty is tasked with helping NextGen Healthcare promote and improve our solutions in support of our clients’ provider performance, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and financial efficiency.

Betty joined the NextGen Healthcare family in August 2017 as one of the founders and the former chief executive officer of EagleDream Health, the cloud-based analytics and population health management solutions we now know as NextGen® Population Health, which drives meaningful insights across clinical, financial, and administrative data to optimize ambulatory practice performance.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Rabinowitz graduated from Ben-Gurion University Medical School in Israel, where she also completed a residency in Internal Medicine. She came to the United States in 1990 for a fellowship in Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where she became a professor of clinical medicine. In addition, Dr. Rabinowitz served as the medical director of the University of Rochester’s Center for Primary Care, overseeing clinical operations and population health management for the university’s large employed primary care network. In 2020, she was named on the list of the Top 25 Woman in Healthcare Software by the Healthcare Technology Report.