Author Affiliations: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health (Drs Leape and Berwick); Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Berwick) and Medicine (Dr Bates), Harvard Medical School; Institute for Healthcare Improvement (Dr Berwick), and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Dr Bates), Boston, Mass.
Controversies Section Editor: Phil B. Fontanarosa,
MD, Executive Deputy Editor.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report To Err Is Human1 converted an issue of growing professional
awareness to one of substantial public concern in a manner and pace unprecedented
in modern experience with matters of health care quality. The epidemiologic
finding that more than 1 million injuries and nearly 100 000 deaths occur
in the United States annually as a result of mistakes in medical care came
from studies nearly a decade old, but it was new information for the public,
and it resonated strongly. In short order, the US Congress initiated hearings
and the president ordered a government-wide feasibility study, which led to
a subsequent directive to governmental agencies to implement the recommendations
of the IOM report. The IOM called on all parties to make improving patient
safety a national priority. In response, physicians, hospitals, and health
care organizations have been searching for safe practices and asking what
they should do to make health care safer.
Leape LL, Berwick DM, Bates DW. What Practices Will Most Improve Safety?Evidence-Based Medicine Meets Patient Safety. JAMA. 2002;288(4):501-507. doi:10.1001/jama.288.4.501