Past Program

Apr 25 - May 02, 2001

Patient Safety and Medical Error


Concern for patient safety has grown worldwide as studies indicate a high rate of injury to patients from the healthcare services that are intended to help them. In the United States, it is estimated that tens of thousands of people die each year in hospitals alone due to medical errors. These injuries are due in many cases to preventable errors and other forms of misadventure that properly designed healthcare systems could avoid. Currently, efforts are being made in many countries around the world, especially in Europe and the United States, to address some of these issues.


The session is intended to provide a forum for an exploration of possible scenarios for making medical facilities safer places for work and for care. To this end, the session will examine the causes, consequences, and methods of improvement of patient safety, with particular emphasis on the American and European experience. Among the issues to be addressed: the sociologic and technical characteristics of medical care, and the systems that allow them to function as high reliability organizations; the role of effective cooperation, communication, and mutual support among the healthcare providers, the role of the patient in the healthcare process; the influence of individual human factors in healthcare delivery, such as professional training, psychological and physical stress, and principles of designing systems for safety. The session will seek to bring together a diverse group of individuals involved in various aspects of the medical process, including administrators, healthcare workers, representatives from regulatory agencies, as well as specialists in the field of safety.


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