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The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority receives over 235,000 reports of medical error per year. Near miss and serious event reports of common and interesting problems are analysed to identify best practices for preventing harmful errors. Dissemination of this evidence-based information in the peer-reviewed Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory and presentations to medical staffs are not sufficient for adoption of best practices. Adoption of best practices has required working with institutions to identify local barriers to and incentives for adopting best practices and redesigning the delivery system to make desired behaviour easy and undesirable behaviour more difficult. Collaborations, where institutions can learn from the experiences of others, have show decreases in harmful events. The Pennsylvania Program to Prevent Wrong-Site Surgery is used as an example. Two collaborations to prevent wrong-site surgery have been completed, one with 30 institutions in eastern Pennsylvania and one with 19 in western Pennsylvania. The first collaboration achieved a 73% decrease in the rolling average of wrong-site events over 18 months. The second collaboration experienced no wrong-site operating room procedures over more than one year.
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