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This Primer provides an overview of the history and current status of the patient safety field and key definitions and concepts. It links to other Patient Safety Primers that discuss the concepts in more detail.

Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37(11):1723-1908.

The Institute of Medicine report, To Err Is Human, marked the founding of the patient safety field. This special issue of Health Affairs, published 20 years after that report, highlights achievements and progress to date. One implementation study of evidence-based surgical safety checklists demonstrated that leadership involvement, intensive activities, and engagement of frontline staff are all critical to successful adoption of safety practices. Another study demonstrated that communication-and-resolution programs either decreased or did not affect malpractice costs, providing further support for implementing such programs. Experts describe the critical role of human factors engineering in patient safety and outline how to enhance the use of these methods. The concluding editorial by David Bates and Hardeep Singh points to progress in reducing hospital-acquired infections and improving medication safety in acute care settings and highlights remaining gaps in the areas of outpatient care, diagnostic errors, and electronic health record safety. In the related information, the Moore Foundation provides free access to five articles in this special issue.
St Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health; 2015.
This report provides background on the Minnesota Never Events reporting initiative, tips for patients on how to receive the safest care possible, and a table of events reported by all hospitals in the state.
Murff HJ, FitzHenry F, Matheny ME, et al. JAMA. 2011;306:848-55.
Many adverse event identification methods cannot detect errors until well after the event has occurred, as they rely on screening administrative data or review of the entire chart after discharge. Electronic medical records (EMRs) offer several potential patient safety advantages, such as decision support for averting medication or diagnostic errors. This study, conducted in the Veterans Affairs system, reports on the successful development of algorithms for screening clinicians' notes within EMRs to detect postoperative complications. The algorithms accurately identified a range of postoperative adverse events, with a lower false negative rate than the Patient Safety Indicators. As the accompanying editorial notes, these results extend the patient safety possibilities of EMRs to potentially allow for real time identification of adverse events.
Reynard J, Reynolds J, Stevenson P. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; 2009. ISBN: 9780199239931.
This book provides an introduction to key patient safety topics and includes a set of 20 case studies to demonstrate opportunities for error prevention.
Minnesota Department of Health
This site reports the results of Minnesota's annual review of reported error in their hospitals statewide and provides additional materials on the state's incident reporting program.