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For his efforts to improve patient safety including the 1999 report, “To Err is Human, Building a Safer Health System,” Dr. Lucian Leape has been awarded the first Nightengale & Codman Patient Safety Award. We would like to add our congratulations.

In the 1999 report, Dr. Leape estimated that up to 98,000 people per year are killed in US hospitals due to medical errors. That estimate caused considerable controversy because before that report, no one had published an estimate of the total number of hospital error caused deaths.

The 1999 report helped people focus on the need to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors. Something that had been an issue for years, but had not received national attention.

TapRooT® Users know that we started showing healthcare patient safety experts how to find the root causes of medical mistakes starting back in 1994. That was the year we held our first Summit Track targeted to help people improve patient safety and quality of care and reduce medical errors.

I remember the Summit especially well because we had a medical engineer from a hospital in Boston talk about errors caused by human factors issues with medical devices. After the General Session talk (he presented to everyone at the Summit – not just medical folks) a nurse that was in the audience came up to the speaker to chew him out for airing medical industry dirty laundry in front of a “non-medical” audience.

Let’s hope that even though the estimated death statistics haven’t changed much in a decade, at least our attitudes toward patient safety improvement has become enlightened and our efforts to reduce medical errors now have a much higher profile.

If you are interested in best practices to reduce medical errors and sentinel events, see the great sessions in the “Eliminating Hospital Sentinel Events Best Practice Track.”

To see the sessions click on the button for the track at this web page:

http://www.taproot.com/summit.php?t=schedule