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Medical News & Perspectives
January 20, 1999

"New Look" Reflects Changing Style of Patient Safety Enhancement

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JAMA. 1999;281(3):217-219. doi:10.1001/jama.281.3.217

Rancho Mirage, Calif—The "New Look" that engaged those gathered here to consider issues of patient safety has nothing to do with fashion—but it does reflect a different style of health care.

The term New Look is being applied to a growing body of research on human and system performance aimed at learning how complex systems fail and how people contribute to safety. The concept underlay a leadership conference on "Enhancing Patient Safety and Reducing Errors in Health Care" held late last year at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences. Injury to patients is rarely caused by simple failures of health care professionals, according to this thinking; more often it results from flaws in complex interactions among several individuals or problems at the interface of people with sophisticated technologies, products, and organizational systems.