Study: Patient safety measures pay off

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A 1999 Institute of Medicine report has helped push the healthcare system to reduce the amount of medical errors, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Specifically, the report affected healthcare positively in three areas: how healthcare views the task of error prevention, enlisting support of stakeholders and changing practices, said the authors of the new report, Lucian Leape, of Harvard School of Public Health, and Donald Berwick, of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The authors also contributed to the 1999 IOM report.
 
The JAMA article says that hospitals have implemented safe clinical practices to reduce medical errors. Computerized physician prescribing has cut medical errors by 80%; the inclusion of the pharmacist with a medical team led to a reduction in preventable adverse drug events by 78%; and standardizing medication practices reduced adverse drug events by 60%.
 
The article, "Five Years After 'To Err Is Human': What Have We Learned?" says that some patient safety issues have slowed the reduction in medical mistakes, including fear of malpractice claims after admitting a medical error.