Report of Deaths From Medical Errors Called 'Exaggerated'
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"The point of the [IOM] report is: Let's look at the processes by which we provide services to people, care to people, and clean them up -- get rid of the things that are potentially harmful," Bristow says. Further, since the Harvard study contained more than 30,000 case records, it's not clear that a study involving another population would yield different results.
When the type of detailed, long-term studies of patients that McDonald suggests are performed, "error and injury rates are almost invariably much higher than indicated by the large record-review studies," Lucian Leape, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health and another IOM committee member, writes in a companion article in JAMA.
The IOM report, released in November 1999, triggered a national debate on ways to make the medical system safer for patients. President Clinton endorsed the document's key goal of reducing medical errors by 50% over a five-year period, partly by urging the creation of a nationwide mandatory medical-error reporting system.