While patient safety has always been a top concern among healthcare providers (remember the Hippocratic admonition to “Do no harm”), the patient-safety movement most certainly received a major boost from the pivotal report "To Err is Human" from the Institute of Medicine, published in late 1999. Among the key findings, the report stated that as many as 98,000 patients die in American hospitals as a result of preventable medical errors. The findings were a wake-up call to the industry. Since then, patient safety and quality of care have been top-tier priorities for improvement in the healthcare system. Terms such as “never events,” “quality measures” and "root-cause analysis" have become commonplace. Government entities such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and myriad not-for-profit organizations such as the National Quality Forum and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement have devoted extensive energy and resources to improve healthcare outcomes. Still, the needle hasn't moved all that much.
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