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Medical errors continue to be a major public health issue. This paper attempts to bridge a possible disconnect between behavioral science and the management of medical care. Epidemiologic data on patient safety and a sampling of current efforts aimed at patient safety improvement are provided to inform relevant applications of organizational behavior management (OBM). The basic principles of OBM are presented, along with recent innovations in the field that are relevant to improving patient safety. Safety-related applications of behavior-based interventions from both the behavioral and medical literature are critically reviewed. Potential OBM targets in health care settings are integrated within a framework of those OBM techniques with the greatest possibility of improving patient safety on a large scale.
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