Healthcare has been a significant part of the national dialogue lately, but the conversation may be focused in the wrong direction. While most people are concerned about access and affordability, new research indicates we should instead be paying more attention to patient safety.

A frightening new study in the Journal of Patient Safety states that 210,000-440,000 people die every year from preventable harm due to medical mistakes. Based on those numbers, death from hospital errors is the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one-sixth of all deaths nationwide.

A previous report from the Institute of Medicine estimated this number at 98,000 deaths per year, and a follow-up report in 2010 from the Office of the Inspector General estimated 180,000 deaths in the Medicare system alone. The new estimates are by far the highest numbers to date, yet some experts fear the real number may be even higher.

Despite the dramatic numbers found in these studies, they shouldn’t take away from the valuable, life-saving work performed every day by the men and women in our hospital system. However, mistakes are made, so we need to make every effort to ensure hospital visits are not only safer, but
also less frequent. The latter part is your job! While you can’t avoid every situation that leads to a hospital visit, you have the ability to reduce your chance of being there due to chronic illness.

Healthier lifestyle choices will reduce sickness, complications, and the need for more serious medical care.  We all know that eating well and getting regular exercise help us be healthier, but we often forget about the need for us to also have a positive mental attitude, get regular sleep, and most importantly – maintain a well functioning nervous system. Previous research showed that individuals using a chiropractor as their primary care provider spent 60% less on hospital admissions, 60% less on surgeries, and a whopping 85% less on pharmaceutical medications!

In addition to making healthy choices on a daily basis, consider adding chiropractic to your routine and see just how good you can be. Not to mention, it just may help you avoid becoming a medical statistic!