Over the nearly two decades since the release of the seminal Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) report, To Err is Human, there has been increasing recognition of the extent and scope of patient safety issues and opportunities for improvement. Indeed, there have been many notable achievements, including reductions of hospital acquired-infections. For example, through the work of our nursing initiative, we supported several interventions that contributed to improved quality and safety in San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento hospitals.
Despite progress, there is still much more patient safety work that lies ahead. At the foundation, we have identified opportunities to improve patient safety in key areas including diagnostic and medication errors. These are reflected in recent our Diagnostic Excellence Initiative and grants in medication safety, such as CancelRX, a health IT tool to decrease medication discrepancies in the outpatient setting.
The November issue of Health Affairs is dedicated to critical topics of patient safety. This special issue, sponsored by the foundation, covers a wide range of clinical settings, health care team members (including patients themselves) and safety risks. Equally as important, it captures emerging knowledge about processes and tools that can be applied to improve patient safety outcomes. We are providing free access to five of the articles in the special issue: