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Patient Safety: Some Progress and Many Challenges

Gluck, Paul A., MD

doi: http://10.1097/AOG.0b013e31826feaa0
Clinical Expert Series
Expert Discussion
Spanish Translation

Progress in patient safety has been exceedingly slow, hampered by lack of both clarity regarding the definition and standard methodology to assess iatrogenic patient harm in obstetrics and gynecology. Understanding the causes of medical error and strategies to reduce harm is simple compared with the complexity of clinical practice. On the other hand, patient safety interventions will not be successful without a receptive culture of safety. This culture can only occur with engaged organizational and individual leaders who understand the importance of patient safety. Transforming groups of individual experts into expert teams is central to this cultural transformation. Strategic pathways to accelerate future improvement in patient safety include fundamental changes in health care education, patient engagement, transparency, care coordination, and improving health care providers’ morale.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.

Corresponding author: Paul A. Gluck, MD, Associate Clinical Professor Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 10165 SW 84th Court, Miami, FL 33156-2411; e-mail:

Continuing medical education for this article is available at

Financial Disclosure Dr. Gluck is Senior Medical Advisor to Stevens & Lee law firm and obstetric consultant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is paid as a part-time employee. In that position, he consults with their clients on matters of risk management and patient safety.

© 2012 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.