Regardless of a person’s overall state of health, there are times when you must see a doctor. When these situations arise, you want to trust that your medical provider will be able to make proper decisions and take steps to improve your health and safety. Sadly, this does not always happen, and one study highlighted that a rather basic factor seems to contribute to far too many instances of patient harm and medical errors.

Stat News provided a look at the results of a study conducted by CRICO Strategies. The study evaluated how poor communication, either between a health care professional and a patient or between multiple health care professionals, contributed to medical mistakes that caused harm or death to patients. Out of nearly 24,000 cases in which medical malpractice claims were filed, approximately 7,000 were found to have involved communication errors. More than 1,700 of those cases resulted in the death of a patient.

The errors ran the gamut from the simple lack of passing on a patient’s phone-in message to the doctor to the failure to execute a desired procedure and then the failure to tell the patient about it. Electronic medical records do not always help as was seen in one case where a patient’s test results were put into the record, but the doctor was never notified, resulting in a one-year delay of a cancer diagnosis.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to provide an overview to all people about the importance in proper communication with and between medical professionals when it comes to their safety and their lives.