Are shorter doctor's shifts causing more hospital mistakes?

New studies have shown that many hospital mistakes are made when doctors are on shorter shifts rather than longer one.  In the past, the general belief was that exhausted doctors working long hours with less sleep made more mistakes.  However, ABC World News reports that interns claim that they make fewer mistakes on longer shifts than shorter ones. 

One of the reasons for this is the passing along of information from one doctor to the next. ABC reports that “It used to be, during a three-day stay in the hospital, your information was handed off three different times. Now as many as nine [hand offs are made].”   The more hand offs increase the chance for hospital mistakes.

To help avoid costly hospital mistakes the next time you’re in the hospital, make sure you have a family member or friend advocating for you during your hospital stay. Whether they report allergies or explain your regular treatment plan, keeping doctors and nurses aware of your situation may reduce any potential hospital errors.