The Financial and Human Cost of Medical Error

... and How Massachusetts Can Lead the Way on Patient Safety

There has been considerable progress on improving the safety of health care for patients over the past two decades, particularly in hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country.

Yet preventable deaths and injuries associated with medical error persist. As more complex care is delivered outside of hospitals, risks to patient safety are an emerging concern anywhere patients receive care. Systems for keeping patients safe have not always kept up with the increasing complexity of health care delivery.

The challenges are great, but so are the opportunities for improvement — particularly in Massachusetts. Our report, The Financial and Human Cost of Medical Error … and How Massachusetts Can Lead the Way on Patient Safety, details two sets of research findings and also proposes a coordinated response through which the Commonwealth’s providers, policymakers, and public can accelerate safety and quality improvement and lead the nation on this urgent health care challenge.

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"While there are no easy fixes, a sustained, collaborative statewide effort can harness a lot of work that’s already been done here and elsewhere to accelerate the pace of safety improvement."

- Barbara Fain, Executive Director, Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety

Key Takeaways