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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Patient safety in dermatology: a ten-year update


Objective: We update and expand our 2010 article in this journal, Patient safety in dermatology: A review of the literature [4][DH1]. Methods: PubMed at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) was searched September 2019 for English language articles published between 2009 and 2019 concerning patient safety and medical error in dermatology. Potentially relevant articles and communications were critically evaluated by the authors with selected references from 2020 added to include specific topics: medication errors, diagnostic errors including telemedicine, office-based surgery, wrong-site procedures, infections including COVID-19, falls, laser safety, scope of practice, and electronic health records. Summary: Hospitals and clinics are adopting the methods of high-reliability organizations to identify and change ineffective practice patterns. Although systems issues are emphasized in patient safety, people are critically important to effective teamwork and leadership. Advancements in procedural and cosmetic dermatology, organizational and clinical guidelines, and the revolution in information technology and electronic health records have introduced new sources of potential error. Conclusion: Despite the growing number of dermatologic patient safety studies, our review supports a continuing need for further studies and reports to reduce the number of preventable errors and provide optimal care.

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