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Hospitals' focus on patient safety hasn't eliminated preventable deaths

Despite the best of intentions, errors are common in hospitals even with new safeguards. A decade ago the Institute of Medicine published its landmark report "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System," which estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occur annually because of preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals.

Over the past decade as a hospital-based physician, I have noticed great efforts to improve patient safety. The software at my hospital's pharmacy is just one example of progress.

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