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Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Apr;30(4):559-68. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0076.

The ongoing quality improvement journey: next stop, high reliability.

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1
Joint Commission, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, USA. mchassin@jointcommission.org

Abstract

Quality improvement in health care has a long history that includes such epic figures as Ignaz Semmelweis, the nineteenth-century obstetrician who introduced hand washing to medical care, and Florence Nightingale, the English nurse who determined that poor living conditions were a leading cause of the deaths of soldiers at army hospitals. Systematic and sustained improvement in clinical quality in particular has a more brief and less heroic trajectory. Over the past fifty years, a variety of approaches have been tried, with only limited success. More recently, some health care organizations began to adopt the lessons of high-reliability science, which studies organizations such as those in the commercial aviation industry, which manage great hazard extremely well. We review the evolution of quality improvement in US health care and propose a framework that hospitals and other organizations can use to move toward high reliability.

PMID:
21471473
DOI:
10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0076
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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