Ten Case Studies in Improving Patient Safety

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<p>When the Institute of Medicine published its landmark report on medical errors in 1999, Americans were shocked to learn that an estimated 48,000 to 98,000 people die each year in the hospital from oversights or mistakes in medical care. Even more troubling than the statistics, though, was the report's central idea that people can be harmed by care meant to help them.<br><br>In <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=21900&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D368995%26%23doc368995">Committed to Safety: Ten Case Studies on Reducing Harm to Patients,</a> a new Commonwealth Fund report, Douglas McCarthy, president of Issues Research, Inc., and David Blumenthal, M.D., director of the Institute for Health Policy at Harvard Medical School, describe 10 organizations--ranging from large, recognized health systems to small community hospitals--that made changes to improve patient care and prevent unnecessary harm.<br><br>The case studies illustrate innovative, and replicable, successes in five areas that hold great promise for improving patient safety: promoting an organizational culture of safety, improving teamwork and communication, enhancing rapid response to prevent heart attacks and other crises, preventing health care-associated infections in the intensive care unit, and preventing adverse drug events.</p>