Toward Error-Free Medicine: New Policies for Health Care

Award Year:
Lucian Leape
Patient Safety, Quality of Care
Accidental injury due to errors in medical treatment is the most serious quality problem in health care delivery in the U.S. Errors cause 1 million injuries and 120,000 deaths annually, and the health care system's reliance on punishing individuals to ensure safety rather than designing safer systems has played a central role. This project develops a series of conceptual essays to alter how hospitals, doctors, regulators and society think about health care delivery. Dr. Leape engages a broad audience of policymakers, legislators, bureaucrats, regulators, health system designers, lawyers, judges, researchers, providers, patients, and the media. He aims to inform and provoke the kind of debate that can lead to sweeping policy changes at all levels of government and throughout the health care system. Topics include: why punishment doesn't work; designing error-free systems; the role of regulation; admitting mistakes to patients; accountability; and mandatory reporting.