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Annu Rev Med. 2012;63:447-63. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-061410-121352. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Reducing medical errors and adverse events.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21231, USA.


Medical errors account for ∼98,000 deaths per year in the United States. They increase disability and costs and decrease confidence in the health care system. We review several important types of medical errors and adverse events. We discuss medication errors, healthcare-acquired infections, falls, handoff errors, diagnostic errors, and surgical errors. We describe the impact of these errors, review causes and contributing factors, and provide an overview of strategies to reduce these events. We also discuss teamwork/safety culture, an important aspect in reducing medical errors.

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