The extent and cost in human lives of medical errors—and how health information technology can make a dent in the problem—remains difficult to determine. But most experts in the industry confirm that it remains a vexing problem that’s becoming more difficult to solve as treatment and delivery increase in complexity.

The newest study to assess the degree of medical errors, recently published in the British Medical Journal, comes from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which estimated that more than 251,000 people die annually from medical errors in U.S. hospitals. That would make it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease and cancer.

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