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The Department of Health and Human Services has created a task force to develop an Internet-based medical-error clearinghouse. The project will eventually link 10 federal data bases, including the Data Bank.

On the heels of this came a pronouncement from the provider community that U.S. health care "isn't very good." As part of its "Pursuing Perfection" initiative to improve care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a survey of 1,200 physicians, nurses, and hospital executives. Some 58 percent gave the aforementioned assessment of care; 72 percent thought fundamental changes are needed; 61 percent accept common errors as routine practice. Of the 600 physicians asked, 95 percent have witnessed a serious medical error.

Have you seen serious medical or quality-of-care mistakes?

SOURCE: ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION, 2001

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