High-Reliability Health Care: Getting There from Here
Context: Despite serious and widespread efforts to improve the quality of health care, many patients still suffer preventable harm every day. Hospitals find improvement difficult to sustain, and they suffer “project fatigue” because so many problems need attention. No hospitals or health systems have achieved consistent excellence throughout their institutions. High-reliability science is the study of organizations in industries like commercial aviation and nuclear power that operate under hazardous conditions while maintaining safety levels that are far better than those of health care. Adapting and applying the lessons of this science to health care offer the promise of enabling hospitals to reach levels of quality and safety that are comparable to those of the best high-reliability organizations.
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