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December 14, 2011

Improving Ambulatory Patient Safety: Learning From the Last Decade, Moving Ahead in the Next

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Patient Safety, American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Wynia); University of Utah, Salt Lake City (Dr Classen).

JAMA. 2011;306(22):2504-2505. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1820

The 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System1 launched the modern patient safety movement by estimating a large number of yearly error-related deaths among hospitalized patients in the United States.1 But 12 years later, there are no reliable data on how many patients in the United States are injured or die each year because of errors in ambulatory settings. The number may be substantial; 52% of paid medical malpractice claims in 2009 were for events in the outpatient setting, and two-thirds of these claims involved major injury or death.2

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