Background: There has been a documented massive increase in published papers on patient safety over the past 20 years or so.
Aims: To ascertain the most influential papers over these last two decades.
Method: We obtained citation counts on papers which seemed to have been the most important in influencing opinion and practice. Our original source of papers were based on a systematic review of patient safety literature carried out by Shojania and colleagues and supplemented by other papers that we had come across in the course of our work directing the Department of Health Patient Safety Research Programme.
Results: We have listed 62 papers on our full report found on our website (http://www.pcpoh.bham.ac.uk/publichealth/psrp/PS_review.htm) and present the top 10 most highly cited papers here.
Conclusion: We are aware that the results were influenced by our subjective assessment and therefore invite readers to send us their favourite papers so we can include them in our interactive bibliography.
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Competing interests: None declared.