Targeting zero harm: a stretch goal that risks breaking the spring

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Targeting zero harm is an increasingly common stated goal of health care organizations and programs that compare and penalize hospital performance. This article reviews the development and expansion of zero-harm campaigns, limitations in measuring preventable harm, and potential unintended consequences of targeting zero-harm outcomes. Leaders of health care organizations should pursue pragmatic approaches that can be measured and targeted to minimize patient harm.


Original languageEnglish
JournalNEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020