Bending the Curve on Patient Safety?

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Fifteen years ago, the landmark Institute of Medicine report <em>To Err is Human</em> estimated that medical errors led to 44,000 to 98,000 deaths each year. Because the lion’s share of errors seemed preventable, the report asserted that “it would be irresponsible to expect anything less than a 50 percent reduction in errors over five years.”<br /><br />
In a new blog post, The Commonwealth Fund's David Blumenthal, M.D., and David Squires say that while “nothing like that occurred,” change may finally be on the way. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that the rate of “hospital-acquired conditions”—which includes post-surgical wound infections, dangerous drug reactions, and patient falls—dropped by 17 percent between 2010 and 2013.<br />
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The authors look at what’s contributing to this welcome improvement, and how the nation can maintain the momentum. Read the post