Development and implementation of a hospital-based patient safety program.
Evidence from numerous studies indicates that large numbers of patients are harmed by medical errors while receiving health-care services in the United States today. The 1999 Institute of Medicine report on medical errors recommended that hospitals and health-care agencies "establish safety programs to act as a catalyst for the development of a culture of safety" . In this article, we describe one approach to successful implementation of a hospital-based patient safety program. Although our experience at Duke University Health System will be used as an example, the needs, principles, and solutions can apply to a variety of other health-care practices. Key components include the development of safety teams, provision of tools that teams can use to support an environment of safety, and ongoing program modification to meet patient and staff needs and respond to changing priorities. By moving patient safety to the forefront of all that we do as health-care providers, we can continue to improve our delivery of health care to children and adults alike. This improvement is fostered when we enhance the culture of safety, develop a constant awareness of the possibility of human and system errors in the delivery of care, and establish additional safeguards to intercept medical errors in order to prevent harm to patients.
Frush, KS; Alton, M; Frush, DP
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