Posted by: Knightbird | January 23, 2011

Apparently, We Are Not Getting Better

We know that hospitals aren’t as safe as they could be. Many studies confirm this statement. The most recent study, reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, confirms 2 things: first, there is not much change from the “To Err is Human” study reported over 10 years ago; second, improvement is possible, but we are not overall achieving it.

Here are verbatim quotes from the new study.


“In the 10 years since publication of the Institute of Medicine’s report To Err Is Human, extensive efforts have been undertaken to improve patient safety. The success of these efforts remains unclear.”


“In a study of 10 North Carolina hospitals, we found that harms remain common, with little evidence of widespread improvement. Further efforts are needed to translate effective safety interventions into routine practice and to monitor health care safety over time.”

Lean healthcare organizations achieve good results, but when you limit Lean to use of the tools, I don’t believe you achieve the safety results that are achievable when the whole organization, from the janitorial staff to the Executive Suite, is fully engaged of the mission of healing.

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