Authors of an analysis published last week in The BMJ estimate that more than 251,000 deaths annually are caused by medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. The safety of too many patients remains at risk. As NQF has repeatedly emphasized, patient safety must be a national priority, and much more can and should be done to eliminate preventable harm to patients. NQF’s Standing Committee on Patient Safety works to ensure that the best possible measures are available to measure and improve safety. Notable improvements have been made in some areas, including reducing healthcare associated infections, but much more work needs to be done to ensure the safety of U.S. healthcare. This study serves as catalyst for a renewed focus on ensuring that healthcare is safe for everyone.
Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, Chief Scientific Officer, National Quality Forum