Overview of progress in patient safety

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Jan;204(1):5-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.11.001.


In the 11 years since the Institute of Medicine reported ubiquitous problems with the quality and safety of patient care in the United States, efforts been made to improve health care. Obstetrics and gynecology has made some improvements; however, similar to other areas of health care, progress has been slow. The major deterrents are complexities in our health care system and culture and an immature science of safety and quality that makes measurement and evaluation of progress difficult. This article describes the efforts that have been made in obstetrics and gynecology to identify causes or factors that contribute to adverse outcomes, to develop measures of quality and safety, and to make improvements. It also offers a framework to help organize patient safety research and improvement. Finally, this article offers ways the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists can organize and support future work.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Gynecology* / organization & administration
  • Gynecology* / standards
  • Humans
  • Maternal Mortality*
  • Medical Errors / mortality
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Obstetrics* / organization & administration
  • Obstetrics* / standards
  • Organizational Culture
  • Safety Management* / methods
  • Safety Management* / organization & administration
  • Safety Management* / standards
  • United States