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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Patient Safety

Patient safety refers to the efforts that health-care providers, institutions, government organizations, private agencies, and patients themselves make to reduce the incidence of medical errors in health-care settings. In the words of the National Patient Safety Foundation, “If a medical error occurs, it is often a result of a series of small failures that are individually not big enough to cause an accident, but combined can result in an error. . . . Everyone has a role in patient safety, and everyone will benefit from its successes.”

Internet Resources

Medline Plus: Patient Safety
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for health care consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information targeting the lay public. This site features extensive information on Patient Safety.

Agency for Health Care Research and Quality
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the health services research arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), complementing the biomedical research mission of its sister agency, the National Institutes of Health. AHRQ is a home to research centers that specialize in major areas of health care research such as quality improvement and patient safety, outcomes and effectiveness of care, clinical practice and technology assessment, and health care organization and delivery systems.


  • Focus on safe medication practices. Rantucci M. 2009
  • Patient safety and quality. Hughes R. 2008
  • Patient safety. Vincent C. 2006
  • Measuring patient safety. Newhouse R. 2005
  • Ready, set, patient safety! Patterson S. 2005
  • Patient safety: principles and practice. Byers J. 2004
  • Internal bleeding: the truth behind America’s terrifying epidemic of medical mistakes. Wachter RM and Shojiana KG. 2004
  • The patient safety handbook. Youngberg BJ and Hatlie MJ. 2004
  • Wall of silence: The untold story of the medical mistakes that kill and injure millions of Americans. Gibson R and Singh JP. 2003

Journals and Journal Articles

  • “A doctor talks about radiation risk from medical imaging.” Robb-Nicholson C. Harvard Women’s Health Watch. 18(2):4-5. Oct. 2010
  • “How you can prevent drug errors.” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Health after 50. 21(7):6. Sept. 2009
  • “The ins and outs of outpatient procedures.” Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50. 18(12):6-7. Anonymous. Feb. 2007

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the  Health Learning Center  at 312-926-5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateJanuary 9, 2012