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The pandemic’s enduring, positive impact on patient safety | Star Tribune

By David Goldsteen, CEO of VigiLanz.

A few months before COVID-19 turned our country upside down, the health care industry celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report “To Err is Human.” The report — which noted that medical errors cause between 44,000 and 98,000 deaths every year — increased awareness regarding the rate of preventable errors and commenced a nationwide push to prevent them.

In an article commemorating the anniversary, Dr. Mark Chassin, president and CEO of the Joint Commission, which accredits U.S. hospitals and sets rigorous safety standards, wrote, “It’s been 20 years, and we haven’t moved the quality and safety needle as much as we had hoped.”

As an emergency medicine physician, I’ve seen firsthand the high rate of preventable medical errors. I agree with Chassin. I also can’t help wondering whether the industry would have moved faster to make patient safety improvements had it known what would hit the U.S. in February 2020.

After more than 575,000 deaths in the U.S. alone due to COVID-19, I believe the answer is yes. We would have moved faster.

Read more from the original article on the Star Tribune.