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  health > story pageAIDSAgingAlternative MedicineCancerChildrenDiet & FitnessMenWomen

Clinton orders task force to seek reduction in medical errors

graphic

December 7, 1999
Web posted at: 2:38 p.m. EST (1938 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton on Tuesday ordered a federal task force to come up with recommendations within 60 days on how to prevent medical errors and increase patient safety.

The president cited the "disturbing report" issued last week that as many as 98,000 Americans lose their lives each year to errors in prescribing medications and other medical mistakes.

"We have the finest medical system in the world," said Clinton, but American hospital officials and other medical providers "must first do no harm" and enhance "a culture of safety...to improve health-care quality.

  ALSO
Medical errors kill tens of thousands annually, panel says
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
Medical errors
 

The study by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine said the medical mistakes that led to deaths included keeping medicines in toxic concentrations in hospital pharmacies, giving patients doses of mistakenly prescribed drugs and illegible handwriting of drug orders by hospital personnel.

The president thanked representatives of hospital administrators, physicians, nurses and others for their cooperation "to make the best health-care system in the world even better."

As part of Clinton's order, federal agencies administering health plans must implement techniques for error reduction. Also, health plans serving federal employees must institute improvements in quality control.

The Domestic Policy Council is to develop initiatives for health quality and patient safety, for inclusion in the next federal budget.



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RELATED SITES:
AMA-National Patient Safety Foundation Home Page
American Hospital Association - Home Page
  • AHA Press Releases - National Patient Safety Partnership conference
  • Medical Errors
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