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Improving Patient Care

Harold C. Sox, MD, Editor
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Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(12):996. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-12-200306170-00012
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This issue marks the debut of Improving Patient Care, a new Annals section that will feature articles about quality improvement and patient safety. The new section will be about the organization of practice rather than the clinical content of care. To understand this distinction, consider Runciman and colleagues' paper in this issue, “Error, Blame, and the Law in Health Care—An Antipodean Perspective” (1). The subject is the characteristics of health care that cause, or contribute to, errors. Most errors do not involve moral culpability. Instead, they are the consequence of systems whose designers were not fixated on reducing errors. Rather than blame the individual, we should fix the system. The issues raised by the authors cut across the full spectrum of health care, and the solutions focus on altering the organization of care.

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