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Lawyers read medical literature from time to time. Sometimes the articles help understand the medicine or science in a particular case. Sometimes they just enlighten us about overall patient safety.

A recent medical journal article, The “To Err is Human” report and the patient safety literature makes me wonder if patient safety is really a top priority for the medical profession.

The “To Err is Human” report published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1999 called for a national effort to make health care safer. Although the report has been widely credited with spawning efforts to study and improve safety in health care, there has been limited objective assessment of its impact. We evaluated the effects of the IOM report on patient safety publications and research awards.

Publication of the report “To Err is Human” was associated with an increased number of patient safety publications and research awards. The report appears to have stimulated research and discussion about patient safety issues, but whether this will translate into safer patient care remains unknown.

Stelfox HT – Quality and Safety in Health Care – 01-JUN-2006; 15(3): 174-8

Exactly when might the translation begin to occur?

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