Federal investigators have released a new report stating that only about 1 in every 7 hospital errors are reported. Adverse events ranging from infections to excessive bleeding to even death are supposed to be reported through systems present at almost every hospital in the US. The systems often allow for anonymous reporting, in order to encourage hospital staff to cooperate. However, as it states in the article: "organizations that inspect and accredit hospitals generally "do not scrutinize" how hospitals keep track of medical errors and other adverse events". And if the accrediting bodies do not scrutinize the process (and results thereof), there isn't much incentive for staff to report. It also states in the article that no new federal regulations regarding this are expected.
The National Science Foundation has released the 14 winners of the "Digging into Data" challenge. The 14 winning projects all involve innovative ways to use data analysis and natural language processing (NLP) to enhance research in the humanities and social sciences. Those interested in large-scale data mining and investigation should read through the winning projects, as they all sound extremely interesting. I think my favorite might be the analysis of newspaper reporting on the 1918 flu pandemic (and not just because most of the PIs are from my alma mater!), in order to see how such reports affected public opinion and the idea of "authority" during the outbreak. I will be eagerly anticipating their results. The 14 winning research projects are sharing nearly $5 million in funds.
Dr. Matheson Harris has written a brief and clear tutorial for patients (with some help from the Chicago Tribune) on how to spot a good doctor (and a bad one!) and how to be a good, educated patient. I really like a lot of what is said here, and agree with the vast majority of it; though it might be a little harsh to tell patients not to go see a doctor who can't see them within a few days. I think it greatly depends on the type of doctor you're seeing, and what the appointment for. I make my dermatology appointments a year in advance because it is so hard to get an appointment at the practice (widely considered one of the best in the nation). And many women in the state of Pennsylvania can tell you about the difficulties in getting an OB-Gyn appointment due to the shortage of those specialists. But the gist of the advice and guidance here is very strong, and all patients should read and take it to heart.