Reducing medical errors and adverse events

Julius Cuong Pham, Monica S. Aswani, Michael Rosen, Heewon Lee, Matthew Huddle, Kristina Weeks, Peter J. Pronovost

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Medical errors account for ∼98,000 deaths per year in the United States. They increase disability and costs and decrease confidence in the health care system. We review several important types of medical errors and adverse events. We discuss medication errors, healthcare-acquired infections, falls, handoff errors, diagnostic errors, and surgical errors. We describe the impact of these errors, review causes and contributing factors, and provide an overview of strategies to reduce these events. We also discuss teamwork/safety culture, an important aspect in reducing medical errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-463
Number of pages17
JournalAnnual review of medicine
StatePublished - Jan 23 2012


  • Adverse events
  • Diagnostic errors
  • Falls
  • Handoff errors
  • Hospital-acquired infection
  • Medication errors
  • Surgical errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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