June 1, 2011

A New Frontier in Patient Safety

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2011;305(21):2221-2222. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.742

More than a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine issued its landmark report To Err Is Human, which claimed that an estimated 44 000 to 98 000 Americans die in hospitals each year due to medical errors.1 Since then, stakeholders in the health care system have invested millions of dollars in numerous strategies trying to improve patient safety. These approaches have included payment penalties, public reporting requirements, and technical assistance. Hundreds of hospitals, with committed boards and executives, have shown large reductions in harm for selected clinical areas, such as central line–associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units (ICUs).2,3

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