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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

The "To Err Is Human Report" and the patient safety literature.

Stelfox HT, Palmisani S, Scurlock C, et al. Quality & safety in health care. 2006;15:174-8.

This study discovered that, since publication of the landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, substantial growth has occurred in patient safety publications and research awards. Investigators found more than 5500 articles published during the 5 years that preceded and followed the 1999 report, demonstrating that the rate of safety publications increased from 59 to 164 articles per 100,000 MEDLINE publications. In addition, although malpractice represented the most common subject of patient safety published before the IOM report, organizational culture remains the most common following it. The authors point out that, whereas their study demonstrates greater interest and research in patient safety, the findings fail to address whether care is actually safer. Past commentaries by Leape and Berwick as well as Wachter discuss the progress made since the IOM report in this regard.