A study just reported in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the question of the prevalence and trend in medical errors and harms in U.S. hospitals. The study found 25 harms per 100 admissions and 63% were considered preventable. A key finding was that the rates of overall and preventable harms did not change significantly between 2002 and 2007.24 In a comment in Journal Watch (December 16, 2010), it was pointed out that this is not surprising since medical harms often result from errors in clinical reasoning and suboptimal diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, types of errors not addressed by new electronic technology to prevent prescribing mistakes
or attempts to decrease hospital acquired infections. This comment implies that if the new approaches are having an impact, then the other problems are increasing in frequency.