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Self-regulation by the health professions, while improving, is no longer enough; external drivers for safer health care include governments, funders and consumers. Enforced self-regulation is often more promising than a “command and control” strategy. Research evidence on the responsive regulatory pyramid and its options offers lessons for health care policy makers and managers. Start at the base of the regulatory pyramid - try persuasion first; move up the pyramid to secure compliance, and then be willing to move back down. Use existing capacities and structures, and if possible avoid new bureaucracies of control.
Healy J, Braithwaite J. Designing safer health care through responsive regulation. Med J Aust. 2006;184(S10):S56-S59.