Keeping Patients Safe: How Has the Patient Safety Movement Evolved in the U.S.?

By Soumya Upadhyay, PhD, MHA | HealthLeaders

Patient safety culture is a cornerstone of healthcare quality. Fostering patient safety culture requires an understanding of an organization’s values, beliefs, and norms.

This article was originally published June 23, 2020 on PSQH by Soumya Upadhyay, PhD, MHA

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Patient Safety Network, patient safety is defined as “freedom from accidental or preventable injuries produced by medical care” (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], n.d.a). The Institute of Medicine has indicated that patient safety is not different from quality healthcare, emphasizing it as an essential domain of the overarching healthcare quality (Erickson et al., 2003). There have been reports and studies on the large amount of deaths that happen each year due to medical errors (Donaldson et al., 2000; James, 2013; Makary & Daniel, 2016). Even though these estimates and the methodology behind calculating these deaths may be questionable, it is undeniable that adverse events are a concern that needs to be addressed (Shojania & Dixon-Woods, 2016). The issue of patient safety poses a risk to the public, thus providing motivation to providers, policymakers, and researchers to pay attention to this issue.

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