Course: Patient Safety and Medical Errors

  • Course Home
  • Syllabus
  • Schedule
  • Lecture Materials
  • Readings
  • Assignments
  • Want to stay in touch?

    3 + 2 =  


Course Description

Provides an introduction to the science of safety, and how it relates to problems with patient safety in health care. Explains the role of both individuals and systems in improving patient safety. Reviews institutional responses to adverse events, including the topics of risk management and medical malpractice. Emphasizes the importance of communication and teamwork. Students learn the basics of conducting an incident investigation, gain an understanding of the advantages and limitations of error reporting, learn how to disclose errors and adverse events, and learn models for improving safety in hospitals and other health care organizations from both the micro and macro points of view.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Science of safety
  • Errors and adverse events in health care
  • Models of safety and change
  • Culture of safety
  • Detection and reporting of injuries and errors
  • Investigative methods
  • Disclosure of adverse events
  • Improvements of clinical systems
  • Policy interventions

Course Objectives

  • Recognize the extent of problems in patient safety in medical care
  • Describe the role of various systems and factors in creating safety and in causing errors and adverse events
  • Discuss problems and issues in measuring and reporting safety
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basics of conducting an incident investigation and disclosing an adverse event
  • Explore solutions to improve patient safety


Course Requirements

Students taking this course for graduate academic credit are evaluated based on a mid-term and final paper.

For the mid-term, students review an adverse event, identify the system factors involved, and identify methods to reduce the future incidence of similar events. The mid-term constitutes 30% of the overall course grade.

For the final , students are required to submit a paper describing a patient safety problem and propose solutions to address it at multiple system levels. This paper should be no longer than 10 pages (double spaced). The final constitutes 70% of the overall course grade.