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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

The long road to patient safety: a status report on patient safety systems.

Longo DR, Hewett JE, Ge B, et al. JAMA. 2005;294:2858-65.

To grade progress since release of the landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, this AHRQ-funded study examined the status and evolution of patient safety systems through a survey of acute care hospitals in Missouri and Utah. Investigators characterized their assessment based on variables that included presence of computerized physician order entry systems, computerized test results, evaluation of adverse drug events, specific patient safety policies, use of data in patient safety programs, drug administration and safety procedures, error reporting processes, prevention policies, and root cause analyses. More than 100 hospitals completed the survey in 2002 and again in 2004. Findings demonstrated only modest improvements in certain areas with variability noted in others. For instance, surgical areas and medication processes seemed to embrace the greatest level of patient safety systems. However, the authors point out that the overall findings fall short of the IOM recommendations and necessitate a more intensive agenda for accelerated improvements. An accompanying editorial (link below) provides an overview of the factors and challenges involved in promoting change to improve patient safety.