4 major advances in patient safety since 'To Err is Human'

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Twenty years have passed since the Institute of Medicine released its groundbreaking 1999 report "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System," which found 98,000 patients die annually from medical errors, according to AAMC News.

 Four major advances in patient safety since then:

1. Two months after "To Err is Human" came out, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a strategic guide to reducing medical errors called "Doing What Counts for Patient Safety." AHRQ has since innovated other measures to reduce medical errors. Its most recent National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions showed a 13 percent decline in HAIs from 2014-17, representing about 20,500 lives saved.

2. The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals program has published an annual list of standards since 2003. The group's Center for Transforming Healthcare also united health systems through a national effort to decrease the rate of hospital falls in 2011. Fall-related injuries fell by 62 percent as a result.

3. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 100,000 Lives Campaign successfully reduced preventable patient deaths over 18 months beginning in 2006. The number of patient deaths fell by 122,000 during the campaign.

4. In 2008, the World Health Organization and experts from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston created a surgical safety checklist, which reminds providers to confirm key patient and procedural information before surgery. A 2009 study showed that participating hospitals saw death rates fall by nearly half between 2007 and 2008.

Click here for a full list of modern patient safety advances.

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