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Stories from the sharp end: case studies in safety improvement.

McCarthy D; Blumenthal D. Milbank Q. 2006;84(1):165-200

March 29, 2006
McCarthy D; Blumenthal D. Milbank Q. 2006;84(1):165-200

This study shares the efforts of six different health care organizations in implementing interventions to improve patient safety. All of the organizations identified culture change as the most important factor in promoting safety, though the mechanisms to achieve such change differed. The authors provide a contextual background of safety culture, including definitions, attributes, and strategies to approach the issue, and present a detailed account of each case study. They point out that creating a desired culture of safety may be both foundational to safety efforts and also very challenging to accomplish. The shared stories offer a practical perspective regarding the issues that face most organizations committed to improving patient safety.