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QUALITY: Why are we caring about medical errors now?

In my background for the post last week on paying for Quality, I came across some of the more recent work by Michael Millenson, who wrote the great Demanding Medical Excellence. Millenson is not only a smart guy who tells a good story but he’s been a professional journalist for a major daily and a consultant for a major benefits firm.  So his explanation of why the IOM’s To Err is Human report hit such a nerve is well worth reading.  Partly it was the culmination of a slow groundswell of news and opinions from across the nation, both from reporters and consumers, and even a few doctors. But just as important was the fact that the IOM used human interest stories which were easy for journalists to latch onto and reproduce and also it was released on a slow news day.  Scary but true, that’s how things get to be a big deal in America. You can read Millenson’s article Pushing the profession: how the news media turned patient safety into a priority here.

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