From To Err Is Human to Improving Diagnosis in Health Care: The risk management perspective.J Healthc Risk Manag. 2016; 35(3):10-23.JH
The publication of To Err Is Human in 2000, followed by Crossing the Quality Chasm in 2001, marked a watershed in patient safety. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports intensified the focus on patient safety and demanded a redesign of the healthcare system to improve quality and safety. Since publication of these reports, the focus has been on improving processes--those methods of healthcare delivery prone to failure and errors. Recently, there has been a concerted and sustained drive to add cognitive (diagnostic) errors to the focus. The recent publication of the IOM's Improving Diagnosis in Health Care has expanded the focus on patient safety and quality improvement. A new focus on diagnostic errors augments rather than replaces the previous focus. In this article, the authors offer a brief review of To Err Is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm to lay a historical foundation. They then discuss a transition into the focus on diagnostic errors and summarize the latest recommendations from Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. This collated synthesis of 3 powerful IOM reports should guide risk managers and other healthcare personnel as they strive to improve every aspect of healthcare delivery.