What is Driving Hospitals' Patient-Safety Efforts?

March/April 2004
Health Affairs , Vol. 23, No. 2
Kelly Devers, Hoangmai H. Pham, Gigi Y. Liu

The Institute of Medicine's report, "To Err is Human," described the alarming prevalence of medical errors and recommend a range of activities to improve patient safety. Three general ways to stimulate hospitals to reduce medical errors are professionalism, regulation and market forces. Although some believe that market forces are becoming more important, the study found that a quasi-regulatory organization-the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations-is the primary driver of hospital patient-safety initiatives. Professional and market-based efforts also have helped, but hospitals report that these efforts have had less impact to date.

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