Forum Session

Reducing Medical Error: Can You Be As Safe in a Hospital As You Are in a Jet?
May 14, 1999


Lisa Sprague, MBA


This Forum session looked at the incidence of error in the health care system, opportunities for a systems-based approach to error reduction, and changes needed in health system culture and training. Much of the harm and expense that errors generate could be prevented, speakers agreed, by attention to simplifying and standardizing procedures, lessening reliance on memory and rote. Error-reduction and patient-safety initiatives undertaken by the Veterans Health Administration were summarized. The role of teamwork training was explored, illustrated by a U.S. Army crew training program that has been modified for emergency medical teams.


Lucian Leape, MD, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy, Harvard School of Public Health; the Honorable Bill Frist, United States Senate; Kenneth Kizer, MD, Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration; Robert Simon, Chief Scientist, Crew Performance Group, Dynamics Research Corporation

Related Materials

More information available in the accompanying publication, Issue Brief No. 740.

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