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Never Never Land

Jun 10, 2015 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

Johns Hopkins patient safety experts recently called for changes in policy to reduce serious, preventable “safety harms” to hospitalized patients.

Reflecting on more than a decade of efforts by hospitals to reduce the rate of so-called “never events” that kill and injure patients, two leaders in patient safety research at Johns Hopkins (J. Matthew Austin, Ph.D. and Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D.) conclude that such harms continue at a “troubling frequency.” They recommend changes for improving ways of collecting, analyzing, and acting on information about lapses in care.

“Never events,” by the way, is a term coined 15 years ago to describe “egregious” health care errors—such as operating on the wrong patient or organ. The conventional wisdom is that such occurrences are entirely or largely preventable and should “never” occur.

--Sarah Hagerty
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