• Dana-Farber's Patient Safety Journey

    Patient safety emerged as a public health issue with the 1999 publication of To Err is Human by the Institute of Medicine. The report brought nationwide attention to the problem of medical error and patient safety.

    Always committed to safe patient care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute redoubled its efforts following the accidental chemotherapy overdoses affecting patients Betsy Lehman and Maureen Bateman in 1994. Adopting a comprehensive approach to patient safety, Dana-Farber created a program with the following features:

    • Safe chemotherapy administration procedures, including electronic order entry
    • Enhanced error-reporting and analysis system
    • Specialized training for nurses in new chemotherapy protocols
    • Increased supervision of trainees
    • Double-checking of high-dose chemotherapy orders
    • Board level involvement
    • Partnerships with hospitals and community organizations to share information systems and quality improvement initiatives
    • Creation of Patient and Family Advisory Councils, whose members participate in major decision-making throughout the organization

    Patient safety at Dana-Farber is rooted deeply in the culture. Rather than a distinct program, patient safety is integrated into the way we care for all patients.

    Dana-Farber patient safety bibliography

    Papers and news articles about Dana-Farber's progress in patient safety through organizational change and innovations in patient care can be found in our bibliography.

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