Medical Error is now the Third-Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

With the emergence of COVID-19, the rising cost of medical care, and the aging popul

Medical Error is now the Third-Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

Learn ways to put yourself in control and minimize your risks!

With the emergence of COVID-19, the rising cost of medical care, and the aging population, healthcare is at the top of American minds. That said, there’s one health culprit that often gets overlooked—medical error.

A recent John Hopkins Medicine study suggests that medical error causes an estimated 250,000 deaths per year in the United States, only being surpassed by heart disease and cancer.

In addition to beating out respiratory disease for third place, the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality cites that one in seven Medicare patients in the hospital will experience a medical error.

If you’re like us, you’re probably thinking, “how is this even possible?

How medical errors can occur

From your first doctor visit, to treatment and then recovery, there are mistakes that can happen along the way that could impact your healing or even threaten your life. Here are a few common ways medical errors happen in the healthcare system:

  • Overworked or under trained staff
  • Inadequate or inefficient policies and procedures
  • Policies, procedures or lack thereof can allow room for human, systematic, or mechanical medical errors
  • Technical failures
  • Computers, software, equipment, or medical devices aren’t working properly
  • Communication challenges between physician, nurse, or patient
  • Patients giving incomplete or incorrect medical information to physicians, nurses receiving incorrect orders, or patients receiving improper care/prescription instructions
  • Systematic communication challenges
  • Medical records are not available or accessible when making healthcare decisions, test results aren’t being relayed appropriately, or medical records aren’t following the patient when transferred or discharged

What you can do to protect you and your loved ones

Hospital visits are stressful enough without having to worry about avoidable and life-threatening healthcare mistakes. Here are some ways you can protect you and your family.

  • Be your own health advocate or bring a trustworthy friend or family member with you
  • Ask questions - and a lot of them!
  • Get a second opinion
  • Ensure you have all of your medical records and health information easily accessible and in one place, which can be achieved using a health information technology app like VITALL

To learn more about how you can protect yourself from medical errors, see the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Fact Sheet.

How VITALL can help keep your medical history at your fingertips

Typically, your medical records are all over the place; walk-in clinics, one-off hospital visits, different specialists, your old family doctor from before you moved. Health providers often have to make important decisions about your health without your complete medical records, which can lead to mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, or recovery. Accessing your complete records becomes particularly critical in the event of an emergency, when traveling abroad, or living with a chronic disease and seeing multiple specialists in a short period of time.

VITALL is a secure health app that collects, organizes, and stores your health information and records for you, so you can access them whenever and wherever you need them. VITALL also offers Caregiver and Family Plans, where you can access your loved one’s important health information with the click of a button.

To learn more about how VITALL works, features, and plans, or to book a time to have one of our Health Information Managers guide you through registration, please visit