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Health Aff (Millwood). 2003 Mar-Apr;22(2):103-12.

The silence.

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  • 1Health Industry Management Program, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.


Despite several well-crafted Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports, there remains within health care a persistent refusal to confront providers' responsibility for severe quality problems. There is a silence of deed--failing to take corrective actions--and of word--failing to discuss openly the true consequences of that inertia. These silences distort public policy, delay change, and, by leading (albeit inadvertently) to thousands of patient deaths, undermine professionalism. The IOM quality committee, to retain its moral authority, should forgo issuing more reports and instead lead an emergency corrective-action campaign comparable to Flexner's crusade against charlatan medical schools.

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