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Clin Biochem. 2013 Sep;46(13-14):1161-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2013.03.025. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Medical error, disclosure and patient safety: a global view of quality care.

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Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Medical errors are a prominent issue in health care. Numerous studies point at the high prevalence of adverse events, many of which are preventable. Although there is a range of severity in errors, they all cause harm, to the patient, to the system, or both. While errors have many causes, including human interactions and system inadequacies, the focus on individuals rather than the system has led to an unsuitable culture for improving patient safety. Important areas of focus are diagnostic procedures and clinical laboratories because their results play a major role in guiding clinical decisions in patient management. Proper disclosure of medical errors and adverse events is also a key area for improvement. Globally, system improvements are beginning to take place, however, in Canada, policies on disclosure, error reporting and protection for physicians remain non-uniform. Achieving a national standard with mandatory reporting, in addition to a non-punitive system is recommended to move forward.


Disclosure; Error prevention; Health care system; Medical errors; Patient safety; Quality care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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