Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Is quality of care improving?

Hospital safety and complexity

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 01 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1320
  1. Anthony P Morton, research associate quality improvement/hospital safety1
  1. 1Infection Management Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane; Cardiac Surgery Clinical Information Service, Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane; and School of Mathematical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
  1. amor5444{at}

Hospitals are complex systems.1 Efforts to improve hospital safety have met with only limited success.2 Application of the science of complex systems and networks may help.3 4

Retrospective investigation of major adverse events commonly shows pre-existing malfunction. Pattern dynamics3 4 is the prospective evaluation of relevant processes enabling threshold …

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