Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don’t Break Out The Bubbly

To Err Is Human Blog Series Logo

This post is part of our two-week series commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the seminal IOM Report "To Err Is Human." To see all posts in the series, please click here.

The way Arthur Levin tells it, we’re either stagnating or moving in reverse as a nation when it comes to patient safety. “We have little or no cause for celebration,” he told a crowd gathered at a recent Consumer’s Union forum on the 10-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine study on medical errors.

Levin should know. He was on the IOM committee that helped issue that landmark study. “We don’t know the answer to the most basic question – is a patient encounter in the U.S. any safer today?” he lamented.

Today, Levin directs the Center for Medical Consumers, a patient advocacy organization.

Levin and Jim Guest, president of the Consumers Union, both called for stronger laws that would require health care providers to disclose medical errors and better public reporting of safety and quality measures. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant,” Guest said.

Levin and Guest joined a cadre of prominent patient safety leaders, advocates and journalists to call attention to the “alarming frequency” of preventable harm as part of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project. Watch here for a full Web cast of the event.

“The status quo is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated,” Levin warned.

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