Why Accountability Sharing in Health Care Organizational Cultures Means Patients Are Probably Safer

AMA J Ethics. 2020 Sep 1;22(9):E779-783. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2020.779.


Because human errors should be regarded as expected events, health care organizations should routinize processes aimed at human error prevention, limit negative consequences when human errors do occur, and support and educate those who have erred. A just culture perspective suggests that responding punitively to those who err should be reserved for those who have willfully and irremediably caused harm, because punishment creates blame-based workplace cultures that deter error reporting, which makes patients less safe.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Health Facilities
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Social Responsibility