Fundamentals of a patient safety program.
Thousands of people are injured or die from medical errors and adverse events each year, despite being cared for by hard-working, intelligent and well-intended health care professionals, working in the highly complex and high-risk environment of the American health care system. Patient safety leaders have described a need for health care organizations to make error prevention a major strategic objective while at the same time recognizing the importance of transforming the traditional health care culture. In response, comprehensive patient safety programs have been developed with the aim of reducing medical errors and adverse events and acting as a catalyst in the development of a culture of safety. Components of these programs are described, with an emphasis on strategies to improve pediatric patient safety. Physicians, as leaders of the health care team, have a unique opportunity to foster the culture and commitment required to address the underlying systems causes of medical error and harm.
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