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Quality Lines

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We know that throughout the world a significant number of people are inadvertently and unnecessarily harmed by the health care from which they expected to benefit. On the other hand, we also know that many people who would benefit from proven interventions do not get them. Studies demonstrating these findings are depressingly similar and, despite knowing much more about the causes and the circumstances of poor quality care, little seems to have changed over the years. One of the problems is that the information about lapses in care and clinical incidents is rarely available to clinicians in “real time”. Usually such information is revealed some months later and, being retrospective, has limited effect on current practice. Two papers in this issue suggest ways in which information technology can be used to help provide such information in a timely way. In Osaka Hospital, Japan, a web-based incident reporting system has …

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