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Invited Commentary
September 13, 2010

Ambulatory Patient Safety: The Time Is Now: Comment on “Patient Perceptions of Mistakes in Ambulatory Care”

Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(16):1487-1489. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.308

In the Harvard Medical Practice Study published in 1991, the annual incidence of deaths from medical errors in the United States was estimated to be equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every day.1,2 National surveys have shown that across all care settings, 34% of Americans believe they or a family member have experienced a preventable medical error, with 21% reporting “serious health consequences.”3 But most experts agree that a decade after these statistics reached national headlines through the 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human and 2 decades after the Harvard Medical Practice Study was published, progress to improve patient safety has been slow.4,5

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