Advancing the Science of Patient Safety

Published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 154, no.10, May 17, 2011 p. 693-696, W-248

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Paul G. Shekelle, Peter J. Pronovost, Robert M. Wachter, Stephanie L. Taylor, Sydney Dy, Robbie Foy, Susanne Hempel, Kathryn M. McDonald, John C. Ovretveit, Lisa V. Rubenstein, et al.

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Despite a decade's worth of effort, patient safety has improved slowly, in part because of the limited evidence base for the development and widespread dissemination of successful patient safety practices. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality sponsored an international group of experts in patient safety and evaluation methods to develop criteria to improve the design, evaluation, and reporting of practice research in patient safety. This article reports the findings and recommendations of this group, which include greater use of theory and logic models, more detailed descriptions of interventions and their implementation, enhanced explanation of desired and unintended outcomes, and better description and measurement of context and of how context influences interventions. Using these criteria and measuring and reporting contexts will improve the science of patient safety.

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