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June 28, 2017  
COMMUNITY: Frequently Asked Questions
Uterus1: What are unrealistic and realistic expectations of patient safety?
Dr. Robert Phillips:
I think that people are becoming more interested in the idea of precautions in the practice of medicine. There have been some seminal articles in the last five years about the medical industry and patient safety. I think patient safety and risk reduction go together. The idea is to use a checklist of sorts so that little things that sometimes turn into big things don’t fall through the cracks. We all like to think that we’re completely sharp all of the time, but in reality we know that’s not true.

All of our expectations of pregnancy these days are unrealistic. In the medieval and covered wagon days, people realized that life is not perfect and that sometimes babies (and adults) have terrible problems and/or die. Now patients, nurses and even the doctors expect perfect outcomes every time. That’s just not realistic and to some degree keeps our medical liability system (not malpractice, we don’t say that) busier than it ought to be. There are many opportunities through modification of our systems to closer approach that desired perfect outcome.

For instance, there are some new labor monitoring systems where you enter the preliminary data, and the system helps you to draw conclusions. Also it helps remind you that if there is a certain laboratory result, then your patient will need antibiotics during labor. The program even remembers to ask you what that lab result was in case you forgot to enter it in the computer in the first place.
Dr. Robert Phillips:
I think that people are becoming more interested in the idea of precautions in the practice of medicine. There have been some seminal articles in the last five years about the medical industry and patient safety. I think patient safety and risk reduction go together. The idea is to use a checklist of sorts so that little things that sometimes turn into big things don’t fall through the cracks. We all like to think that we’re completely sharp all of the time, but in reality we know that’s not true.

All of our expectations of pregnancy these days are unrealistic. In the medieval and covered wagon days, people realized that life is not perfect and that sometimes babies (and adults) have terrible problems and/or die. Now patients, nurses and even the doctors expect perfect outcomes every time. That’s just not realistic and to some degree keeps our medical liability system (not malpractice, we don’t say that) busier than it ought to be. There are many opportunities through modification of our systems to closer approach that desired perfect outcome.

For instance, there are some new labor monitoring systems where you enter the preliminary data, and the system helps you to draw conclusions. Also it helps remind you that if there is a certain laboratory result, then your patient will need antibiotics during labor. The program even remembers to ask you what that lab result was in case you forgot to enter it in the computer in the first place.

Dr. Robert Phillips


Robert Phillips, M.D. grew up in New Mexico and went to college and medical school in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico where he graduated in 1983. He did his OB/GYN residency training in Phoenix at the Maricopa Medical Center. He has been with Desert West OB/GYN in private practice for 18 years, and now serves as president and managing partner of this 12 OB/GYN physician group. Dr. Phillips’ practice interests include general obstetrical care and minimally invasive surgery. He recently has become involved in risk reduction for OB/GYN's. His outside interests include three teenagers, music and reading.

Dr. Robert Phillips


Robert Phillips, M.D. grew up in New Mexico and went to college and medical school in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico where he graduated in 1983. He did his OB/GYN residency training in Phoenix at the Maricopa Medical Center. He has been with Desert West OB/GYN in private practice for 18 years, and now serves as president and managing partner of this 12 OB/GYN physician group. Dr. Phillips’ practice interests include general obstetrical care and minimally invasive surgery. He recently has become involved in risk reduction for OB/GYN's. His outside interests include three teenagers, music and reading.

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