Much has changed in the years since the Institute of Medicine published To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm, companion reports released in 1999 and 2001 that sounded the alarm about high rates of adverse events and the urgent need to adopt proven best practices in healthcare.
Government agencies have ramped up improvement efforts through public reporting mandates, demonstration projects, payment incentives and other programs. And many hospitals and health systems have undertaken large-scale initiatives aimed at lowering rates of hospital-acquired conditions, curbing readmissions and engaging patients in their care, all while implementing interventions to redesign care processes, improve culture and create high-reliability systems.
Experts say those efforts have led to some significant improvements, including recent strides in reducing rates of some types of healthcare-associated infections and improving coordination among providers. But there is still plenty of work to be done.