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Improved Patient Safety

Other Promising Practices

Participants agreed that reducing medical errors and improving patient safety is a complex, multi-faceted challenge requiring ingenuity, hard work and a variety of interventions and strategies. Among the approaches shared by the State teams were the following:

  • A number of States have focused attention on reducing medical errors and improving patient safety. They have established and/or resurrected multidisciplinary collaborations, coalitions, and task forces to push the States' patient safety agenda forward. Many State efforts specifically designed to improve patient safety at the delivery system level have focused on establishing systems to identify and reduce medical errors, developing and implementing best practice standards, and conducting educational and training programs for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals.
  • Opportunities for legislators to learn more about the complexity and importance of patient safety include legislative luncheons, briefings, etc. In some States, legislators have begun to develop legislation on patient safety reporting systems that focus on learning rather than blaming the caregivers.
  • Other efforts at the State level focus on educating and informing patients and families on their role in the process. Patient safety brochures, such as those developed by AHRQ, and other educational materials have been developed to encourage consumers to become actively involved in their care (http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/20tips.htm).

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AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care