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J Postgrad Med. 2005 Jan-Mar;51(1):61-7.

Crossing to safety: transforming healthcare organizations for patient safety.

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Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, University of Washington, Washington, USA.


The current healthcare system is not designed to ensure better patient safety. In addition, healthcare is simultaneously becoming increasingly complex and increasingly fragmented. Medical knowledge and technology are expanding at an incredible rate, making it difficult for the healthcare providers to keep pace with advancing knowledge. Patients' needs are changing too: shifting from the diagnosis and treatment of a single, acute problem to the long-term management of multiple, interrelated chronic conditions. Our systems of care are not keeping up with these changes and, consequently, patients are experiencing unnecessary risk. Improving patient safety requires a transformation in how we currently care for patients. Healthcare organizations must adopt a new paradigm of care that holds patient safety as a core value and practice. To achieve this aim, healthcare organizations should build and maintain a culture of patient safety, provide leadership for patient safety that establishes a blame-free environment, proactively survey and monitor for adverse events, continually engineer patient safety into healthcare processes, and provide information and communication technologies to support patient safety.

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