n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Patient safety - minimising medical error




The casual observer may think that the topic of this article refers to the security available to minimise personal violence and theft, sadly speaking of a local bias. However, it refers to measures and systems that have to be put in place to minimise medical error and patient harm. The patient safety movement is now 13 years old, led by the publication of the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report . The basic premise at the time was that annually up to 98 000 Americans were estimated to have died because of medical error (although this calculation is still criticised by many as being too high or too low). Indeed, subsequent studies in a number of different healthcare environments put the adverse event rate as a percentage of admissions between 3% (Utah-Colorado Study and Harvard Medical Practice Study) and 17% (Quality in Australian Health Care Study).


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