In response to growing recognition of the importance of patient safety in the practice of medicine, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is encouraging its individual specialty member boards to introduce material on patient safety into certification examinations. Certification and recertification candidates, medical schools, and residency programs will likely need to prepare for the possibility that upcoming examinations will include patient safety. Due to the relative youth of the patient safety movement, some may ask whether the field is sufficiently developed and, if so, ask what would be fair to ask candidates to know. To determine what subject matter could be reliably tested, the ABMS and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies convened a panel of patient safety experts in 2003. Based on the panel's recommendations, the authors provide a brief summary of the panel's findings and an overview of current concepts in patient safety. The authors also explore which current concepts of patient safety candidates may reasonably expect to find on upcoming examinations.
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