Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Do YOU Think?

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.

During this series, we are hearing from researchers, clinicians and journalists about their views on patient safety in the ten years following the release of To Err is Human. Now, we want to hear from you. On the top right corner of this page, we have posted a one question poll about patient safety. Please take a moment to cast your vote and then comment on this post to explain your thoughts.


  1. It depends on the type of safety problem and on the particular setting in question. I think medication errors and patient identification errors are still huge. I think certain problems that have been a focus of intense QI efforts in hospitals are getting better. I think that in the non-hospital settings progress is much slower.

  2. I do not believe patient safety has improved. The increasing acuity of patients coupled with the increased demands on nurses and allied health professionals has only made the acute care environment more accident prone. More workforce improvements are needed- especially in regards to safe staffing levels, reduction in non-patient care duties (which are only increasing with computerization), and improved workplace environments.

  3. It depends; This is a difficult question to answer. Complexity of patients, technology, lack of integrated IT systems, overuse of antibiotics and iatrogenic infections, staff spending more time on non-clinical issues, and belt tightening have made hospitals less safe. Conversely we have seen pockets of improvement with universal protocols but we have a way to go to make individuals safe.

  4. Safety has improved for some problem prone processes, but we have a long way to go to say our healthcare system is safe. Healthcare settings have certainly begun to focus on improving processes related to patient safety as a result of national priorities, standards and the use of benchmarking. There has also been a continued effort to improve measurement of safe process and related outcomes helping organizations understand their performance in comparison to similar settings. Nursing leadership and involvement is essential to future improvements in patient safety.