Promoting a Culture of Patient Safety: A Review of the Florida Moratoria Data: What We Have Learned in 6 Years and the Need for Continued Patient Education

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Patient safety and medical error reduction are topics of extreme importance. Although there has been considerable media controversy regarding reports of decreased patient safety and errors that have occurred in operating rooms of hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and doctors’ offices, the majority of data across various specialties demonstrate a very low incidence of adverse events resulting from office-based surgery. Limited research has been conducted in patient safety on the topic of outpatient surgery. Since the release of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report To Err Is Human, significant progress has been made in patient safety. According to the IOM's report in 2000, between 48,000 and 98,000 annual US hospital deaths result from medical errors. Following the report, there have been numerous calls to improve patient safety and place it at the forefront of the national agenda. The Florida Board of Medicine restricted office procedures in 2000 after a series of incidents occurred in the outpatient setting. The objectives of this paper are to review the Florida moratoria data over the last 6 years to discuss what we have learned as a specialty and to continue a culture of safety in plastic surgery. One of the remaining challenges is the need to continually improve this culture of safety and emphasize the need for continued patient education, specifically related to esthetic procedures administered in nonclinical settings by amateur, unlicensed, or unqualified practitioners, with a misrepresentation of their credentials and training. This is a long-term proposition and one that has been driven foremost by our leaders in plastic surgery.

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