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Classics and Emerging Classics

To help our readers navigate the tremendous breadth of the PSNet Collection, AHRQ PSNet editors and advisors have given the designation of “Classic” to review articles, empirical studies, government and stakeholder reports, commentaries, and books of lasting importance to the patient safety field. These items have the potential to impact how providers approach care practice and are regularly referenced in the literature. More information on the selection process.


The “Emerging Classics” designation identifies those resources that may not have met the level of a “Classic” yet due to limited citation in the published literature or in the level of impact/contribution to the environment, but these are resources which our patient safety subject matter experts believe have the potential to drive change in the field.

Popular Classics

Huang SS, Septimus E, Kleinman K, et al. N Engl J Med. 2013;368.

Healthcare associated infection is a leading cause of preventable illness and death. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a virulent, multi-drug resistant infection increasingly seen across healthcare settings. This pragmatic,... Read More

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Donahedian A. Ann Arbor, MI; Health Administration Press: 1980. ISBN: 9780914904489.
Quality and safety are ultimately determined by the degree to which health care improves important patient outcomes. However, documenting variations in morbidity and mortality is labor intensive. In this first volume, Donabedian develops the framework for measuring quality by assessing elements of structure or process with proven connections to key outcomes of interest. This framework may seem straightforward now, but only because Donabedian’s approach has become the paradigm for quality measurement in health care. Despite the wide dissemination of the structure-process-outcome triad, Donabedian’s original work remains worth reading. Those who wish to sample a briefer introduction can look at a review article by Donabedian in the Journal of the American Medical Association (The quality of care: how can it be assessed? JAMA. 1988;260:1743-1748).