Friday, December 18, 2009

Grading patient safety efforts

From the New York Times article:
Ten years ago, a national panel of health care experts released a landmark report on medical errors in the American health care system. Published by the Institute of Medicine, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System” estimated that as many as 98,000 people died in hospitals each year as a result of preventable mistakes. Being hospitalized, it turned out, was far riskier than riding a jumbo jet.

While the report offered comprehensive strategies to improve safety, its main conclusion was that medical errors were primarily a result of “faulty systems, processes and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them.”

Spurred on by this finding, health care leaders across the country began addressing errors believed to be a result of systemic flaws.
Dr. Robert M. Wachter, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a national leader in patient safety, recently published two critiques of the safety movement, one in Health Affairs and one in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Click here to access the NYT article. Click here to access the Health Affairs article (sub. req.). Click here to access the NEJM article (sub. req.).

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