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The Evolution of Patient Safety and Quality of Care

Over time, the healthcare industry has started to see a more focused movement to address patient safety and quality of care (1).

blog timeline

Source: Institute of Healthcare Improvement Timeline 2019

In the 1980s, the focus on patient safety was geared towards heightening awareness and setting the stage that improvement in patient safety and quality of care was possible. The early 1990’s was a period of education that included the sharing of information and creating educational opportunities. The late 1990s was a period of collaborative improvement that included milestones such as “President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry publishing the “Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” and, the following year, “Quality First: Better Health Care for All Americans.” (2, 3)

At the end of the 1990s and the beginning of 2000, there were the beginnings of a tangible redesign of healthcare in the United States.

Two sentinel publications, To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm, helped to accelerate the redesign by pointing out deficiencies and further establishing the need for change. (4)

Efforts to Improve Patient Safety and Quality of Care

The early 2000s showed movement of organizations collaborating together to improve patient safety and quality of care.

A campaign born and implemented during this time period was the 100,000 Lives Campaign, which included more than 3,000 US hospitals working to improve safety and outcomes to save lives. (5)

From 2005 to 2009, full scale changes were happening to mainstream standard practices; changes were deployed not only in the US, but across the world.

In the period from 2010 to 2014, there was a shift in focus to population health. During this time period, efforts were made to ensure better care not only for individuals but also for improving the health of populations while reducing per capita cost. National organizations devoted to patient safety and quality have focused on accelerating the pace of health care improvement via partnerships with organizations and communities to improve health care globally. (1) 

Equitability in Care

From 2015 to 2019, a lot of progress has been made in the prioritization of quality outcomes in healthcare. Improved access to healthcare programs and increased efforts to attain equitability in care has made healthy living a reality for many more people. In 2017, the merging of IHI and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) resulted in a pledge to reset and re-energize the patient safety agenda (1).

In 2018, IHI accelerated population and community health improvement in SCALE 2.0 by expanding to more than 220 communities and 500 health care organizations (1).

The evolution of healthcare efforts continues to strive towards creating a healthier society. In recent years, the introduction of patient safety and quality of care programs have propelled those efforts forward as the industry advances towards a more just and safe healthcare experience for all.

To learn more about how the implementation of a patient safety program can help improve healthcare outcomes, download a whitepaper on PHP’s Incident and Event Reporting solution: 

Performance Health Partners Incident Event Reporting Software


  1. Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Retrieved on October 14, 2019 from
  2. Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. (1997). Retrieved on October 14, 2019 from
  3. Quality First: Better Health Care for All Americans. (1998). Retrieved on October 14, 2019 from
  4. Kizer, KW. 1999. Large system change and a culture of safety. In: Enhancing Patient Safety and Reducing Errors in Health Care. Chicago, IL: National Patient Safety Foundation.
  5. “11 Tenets of a Safety Culture, The Joint Commission. Retrieved on August 3, 2019 at


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