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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Is patient safety improving? National trends in patient safety indicators: 1998–2007.

Downey JR, Hernandez-Boussard T, Banka G, et al. Health services research. 2012;47:414-30.

As the patient safety movement enters its second decade, an emerging body of research is finding that safety for hospitalized patients has likely not improved significantly over the past several years. This study, which used the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) to analyze safety events in 69 million hospitalizations over a 10-year period, also finds no clear evidence of improved safety. Of the 20 PSIs analyzed, 7 increased in incidence over the time period studied, 7 decreased, and 6 did not change. While PSIs are best used for screening purposes and not for direct comparisons between hospitals, they have been used to track system-level rates of safety problems over time. The results of this study and other recent literature provide continued urgency for the safety movement to strive to improve the safety of the entire health care system.