PS 102 Lesson 3: A Closer Look at Harm
As much as we hate to admit it, the reality is that people experience all sorts of harm as part of health care — from mild side effects of drugs to life-threatening infections they acquire in the hospital. Are all of these unintended events caused by human error alone? What exactly do we mean by “harm”? And how do we determine which harms we can prevent?

This lesson looks at the ways in which efforts to improve patient safety have moved beyond just reducing error, to also encompass efforts to reduce harm — and how our understanding of harm in the health care system has changed over time.
Estimated Time of Completion: 25 minutes
Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
1. Define harm in health care.
2. Explain how effective safety systems can reduce harm.
3. Discuss three types of injury to patients that are not typically included in the definition of harm.
Contributors
Author(s):
Fran Griffin, RRT, MPA, RRT, MPA, Institute for Healthcare Improvement View Profile
Robert Wachter, MD, Professor & Associate Chairman, Dept of Medicine, University of California San Francisco View Profile
Editor(s):
Laura Fink, Director, Editorial and Online Learning, Institute for Healthcare Improvement View Profile
Reviewer(s):
Frank Federico, RPh, Vice President, Senior Patient Safety Expert, Institute for Healthcare Improvement View Profile
James Moses, MD, MPH, Chief Quality Officer, Boston Medical Center View Profile
Requirements
You must be a registered IHI.org user to take this lesson.
You must achieve a minimum score of 75% to successfully complete this lesson.