A short edition of fun with statistics this time, and I’m sure some will call me insensitive.
We’ve all been monitoring the situation in Minneapolis. A tragedy, disaster, or calamity, depending on your news source. The story has been the number one headline for days, and will be for several more. Vast sums are being spent to re-inspect over 100,000 other bridges around the country. Bills are being introduced locally and nationally to provide billions to upgrade transportation infrastructure.
Five people have been confirmed dead in the bridge collapse.
Five people die every 30 minutes from medical mistakes, using the oft-cited figure of 98,000 per year.
Where are the headlines? Where are the bills? Even when we do read about the problems with healthcare it has to do with access and cost, rarely about mistakes. Every now and then we’ll hear about some unfortunate situation where the wrong organ was removed, but not five or ten times an hour.
The good news is that mistakes can be avoided, often through the implementation of very simple poka yoke and mistake-proofing methods that are part of lean manufacturing. Many hospitals and health care providers are aggressively implementing lean healthcare initiatives.
If only they got the attention and support that issues with healthcare access and cost regularly receive, let alone the press, money, and political bravado that a bridge collapse has created.