More than ten years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported alarming data on the causes and impact of medical errors in the US, demanding for urgent national eff orts to address this problem. Despite large initiatives to improve patient safety throughout the managed care have growth expo-nentially since the release of "To Err is Human", the outcome has however been much lower than ex-pected. It is still undeniable, however, that the worldwide galloping movement of patient safety, boosted by Governments, national healthcare sys-tems and consumers unions, has catalyzed impor-tant changes in healthcare and laboratory medi-cine as well. Some of these changes have intro-duced important innovations in the current medi-cal and laboratory practice, towards establishment of a foremost culture of quality and safety. The very issue we have to face is natural to the real meaning of "healthcare quality". Quality is gene-rally defi ned as "a high degree or grade of exce-llence", but the translation of this concept in heal-thcare is somehow challenging, since we all know that "quality" means rather diff erent things to dif-ferent people. Someone thinks that getting quali-ty healthcare means seeing the doctor right away, being treated courteously by the doctor's staff , or having the doctor spend a lot of time with him/ her. While all these things are important, the "clini-cal" quality of healthcare is indeed much more pervasive. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services brings a helpful example to defi -ne healthcare quality. Getting quality health care is like taking a car to the mechanic; the people in the garage can be pleasant and take note of compla-ints, but the most important thing is whether they can be able to fi x the problems and, hopefully, to return the car timely and with no additional mal-functioning. Accordingly, healthcare quality can be seen as receiving the most appropriate care, whilst minimizing the risk of side eff ects and ad-verse events not directly related to the presence of the original disease (e.g., medication errors, wrong site surgery or retained instrument after an opera-tion, wrong drug or wrong route of administration of drugs, adverse drugs reactions, hospital acqui-red infections, etc). In other words, according to the current defi nition of the US Institute of Medici-ne (IOM) healthcare quality is the degree to which health services increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.