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This is the first in a series of articles to review the topics of patient safety and quality improvement in pediatrics.
Patient safety is a subject that traverses all medical specialties and affects every health-care professional. The attention to medical errors and adverse events as well as the resultant literature has grown exponentially over the past decade. A number of practicing physicians, however, remain unaware of the extent of the problem, the impact on patients, and the burden on the health-care system. Many also are unfamiliar with strategies to reduce the risk of harm.
It is important to note that definitions used in patient safety can vary across studies, between organizations, and over time. A medical error, as defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), is “the failure to complete a planned action as intended or the use of a wrong...