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accreditors have a role in encouraging and supporting actions within health care organizations by holding them accountable for ensuring a safe environment for patients.

Health care organizations ought to be developing patient safety programs within their own organizations (see Chapter 8). After a reasonable period of time for health care organizations to set up such programs, regulators and accreditors should require patient safety programs as a minimum standard. The marketplace, through purchaser and consumer demands, also exerts influence on health care organizations. Public and private purchasers have three tools that can be employed today to demand better attention to safety by health care organizations. First, purchasers can consider safety issues in their contracting decisions. Second, purchasers can reinforce the importance of patient safety by providing relevant information to their employees or beneficiaries. There is increasing attention in providing information to aid in the selection of health coverage. Information about safety can be part of that process. Finally, purchasers can communicate concerns about patient safety to accrediting bodies to support stronger oversight for patient safety.

RECOMMENDATION 7.2 Performance standards and expectations for health professionals should focus greater attention on patient safety.

Health professional licensing bodies should

(1) implement periodic reexaminations and relicensing of doctors, nurses, and other key providers, based on both competence and knowledge of safety practices; and

(2) work with certifying and credentialing organizations to develop more effective methods to identify unsafe providers and take action.

Professional societies should make a visible commitment to patient safety by establishing a permanent committee dedicated to safety improvement. This committee should

(1) develop a curriculum on patient safety and encourage its adoption into training and certification requirements;

(2) disseminate information on patient safety to members at special sessions at annual conferences, journal articles and editorials, newsletters, publications and websites on a regular basis;

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