If you are like most in Providence County, then you likely view going to the hospital for treatment with a certain degree of apprehension. Yet due you exhibit the same hesitancy when visiting a local healthcare clinic? Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that compared to hospitals, clinics handle much higher volumes of patients seeking outpatient services. Their data shows that in 2012, over 928 million Americans sought care from physician’s offices and clinics, while in 2011, just under 128 million people went to hospitals for such services. Given the huge discrepancy in the number of visits between the two types of facilities, you might assume you have a greater risk of suffering from a provider error at a clinic.
Statistics regarding medical errors, however, typically come from hospitals, potentially implying that clinics are safer. While many may argue that errors in clinics are underreported, there may be some logic behind the assumption that hospitals may pose a greater risk to you. They do care for patients with a much broader range of conditions, thus exposing you to more infectious disease-causing pathogens. Plus, as the services provided in a hospital are more extensive than those offered in clinics, you may also be more likely to suffer greater harm from a procedure done in such a setting.
There are, however, certain problems whose results can be just as severe in a clinic setting as in a hospital. These are medication errors. Adverse drug events can happen regardless of where medications are administered. One might even say that your potential of suffering devastating results from a medication error is greater in a clinic, given that such a facility may lack the resources to adequately treat you should your reaction to a drug occur on-site.