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Health Care Errors and Patient Safety Hardcover – 27 Mar 2009


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From the Back Cover

Over the past decade, a transformation in attitudes to health care error and patient safety has taken place. Recognition, classification, monitoring and prevention of errors have become visible fields of multidisciplinary debate, empirical research and policy development, whereas 5 years ago such matters were little studied or discussed.

Errors in medicine are now of great interest to many parties they attract the focus of lawyers, insurers and policy analysts, as well as the attention of medical educators, researchers, psychologists, professional, regulatory and defence bodies, patients and politicians. Each constituency brings different viewpoints to the issues raised by medical error, such as: error definition and reporting, error interpretation, how to identify the causes of medical error and maximise prevention, and how to reduce error associated health care harms.

Over the coming decade, the detection, reporting, measurement and minimisation of medical errors and the harms which flow from these will become part and parcel of every clinical organisation in developed societies.

Aim of this book
This volume will bring together a series of contributions by internationally recognised researchers, scientists and critical thinkers on medical errors, in order to chart the growing public and policy interest in medical fallibility and patient safety. It will be directed to a broad audience of practitioners, policy makers and researchers, and will encompass

  • the nature of medical fallibility and different approaches to defining error
  • relations between error and harm
  • what is known about the incidence and epidemiology of errors and harms in different health settings and
  • strategies to minimise the occurrence of errors and their harmful consequences
  • interaction with the law: culpability for error, harm and bad luck
  • relevance to clinical appraisal and re–accreditation
  • the culture and ethos of clinical practices
  • medical education and research.

With an international authorship, this volume will be of interest to both domestic and international clinical, health policy, medical R+D and health education readerships. Comparable collections contain material published some time ago now and do not offer the breadth of focus on error and patient safety that we propose here.

About the Author

Brian Hurwitz, NHS GP, Professor of Medicine and the Arts, King s College, London.

Aziz Sheikh, NHS GP, Professor of Primary Care Research and Development, University of Edinburgh
The editors have worked together on medical error in the past and have a considerable track record of jointly undertaken research and peer review publication in primary health care related fields. They have established contacts with many of the proposed chapter authors.


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