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- Perspectives on Safety
- Diagnostic Errors
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Perspectives on Safety > Perspective
with commentary by Richard J. Baron, MD, The Business Case for Improving Safety, May 2009
Most patient interactions with the health care system occur in the outpatient setting. Many potential and actual safety problems occur there as well.(1) Yet patient safety literature and practice do not seem to have reached deeply into ambulatory care. This is likely due to a combination of factors: in most practices, there is no layer of administration providing a second look at routine policies and procedures; there is no accrediting agency, like The Joint Commission, to mandate safe practices (2); and those of us in office practice are so consumed with simply getting through the day that it is difficult to recognize the problems, large and small, that can lead to major safety hazards. The business case for safety, such as it is, relies almost entirely on the malpractice rate-setting process: errors that result in litigation lead to higher premiums and personal and professional misery. However, as Studdert (3) has argued, relying on the malpractice system to identify and "correct" errors is unlikely to be timely or productive.