November marked a decade since the release of a seminal Institute of Medicine report that cited research estimating as many as 98,000 Americans die annually from preventable medical errors.
The report, “To Err is Human,” attracted a flurry of media attention and political scrutiny — as well as criticism from physicians who said the estimate was too high. It also helped catalyze the modern patient safety movement, but to what end?
A report issued in December in the policy journal Health Affairs, said patient safety efforts since 1999 deserve a B-minus grade, compared with a C-plus for 2004.
The report cited improvements in error reporting and quality initiatives led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Joint Commission and others. But, the report said, safety gains from health information technology have largely failed to materialize due to slow take-up, unintended consequences and implementation problems.
The whole shebang.