Despite U.S. federal agencies increasing their investment since 1999’s release of To Err Is Human, recent reports suggest there is a lack of measurable outcomes in patient safety research. The present study sought to explore the associations between federal incentives of patient safety research and the outcomes from 1995 to 2014, in which the two historical events – the release of To Err Is Human and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – were considered in the analysis. We employed Poisson distribution models to provide a longitudinal picture of (1) how the federal incentives drove sponsored research projects; (2) how hot research topics changed over time. Our findings suggested a positive outcome in patient safety research. We also found trending health information technology (HIT) related topics including “natural language processing”, “user-computer interface”, and “clinical decision support systems” that are prevalent approaches to patient safety research.
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