HealthcarePapers 2(1) April 2001 : 48-54.doi:10.12927/hcpap..16930

Patient Safety: Cultural Changes, Ethical Imperatives

Jean M. Reeder


One essential aspect to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors focuses on the need for healthcare organizations to promote a patient-safety culture, and to banish the blame and shame culture and "conspiracy of silence" - traditional approaches within organizations when reacting to medical errors. Culture change arises when physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other self-regulated professionals are encouraged and expected to report errors without fear of retribution. A culture of patient safety will evolve in healthcare organizations and regulatory agencies only if top leaders demonstrate their commitment to change by making this a personal priority by assimilating new knowledge about medical errors and human behavior. Leaders must also promote strategies to integrate patient safety into every process that supports the system of patient-care delivery.



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