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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181eb4c7f
Letters to the Editor

Patient Safety Education: Overreported and Still Lacking

Alper, Eric MD; Durning, Steven MD

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Associate professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts; eric.alper@umassmemorial.org. (Alper)

Professor of medicine and pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. (Durning)

In Reply: We appreciate the comments by Dr. Kane and agree that the current state of patient safety education is not optimal in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. It is certainly possible that our data may have overestimated the prevalence of patient safety curricula within medical schools in those countries, as we queried a smaller sample of institutions than did Kane et al.1 Also, clerkship directors may have overestimated the number of curricula on this topic. Last, we did not survey to evaluate the total curricular time at each medical school devoted to patient safety education. We reported these limitations in our Academic Medicine article.

Assessment of the CurrMIT system, as explained in Kane and colleagues' report, is another appropriate method for answering the same question. The 2008 article by Kane et al1 was not available at the time of our original literature search, and it should also be consulted by educators who wish to assess the literature in this area.

Additional groups such as the Lucien Leape Institute in their recent report, Unmet Needs: Teaching Physicians to Provide Safe Patient Care,2 continue to call for more systematic, coordinated, longitudinal curricula on patient safety in undergraduate education. Regardless of the precise extent of patient safety curricula within our medical schools, it is clear that we are not doing enough. We believe that coordinated efforts should continue to occur and that periodic monitoring of the extent of adoption of patient safety curricula should also continue, through additional research studies and, more formally, through the mechanisms of the LCME and the AAMC.

Eric Alper, MD

Associate professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts; eric.alper@umassmemorial.org.

Steven Durning, MD

Professor of medicine and pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

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References

1Kane JM, Brannen M, Kern E. Impact of patient safety mandates on medical education in the United States. J Patient Saf. 2008;4:93–97.

2National Patient Safety Foundation. Unmet Needs: Teaching Physicians to Provide Safe Patient Care. Report of the Lucian Leape Institute Roundtable on Reforming Medical Education. Available at: http://www.npsf.org/LLI-Unmet-Needs-Report/index.php. Accessed May 4, 2010.

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges

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