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Healthcare institutions continue to face challenges in providing safe patient care in increasingly complex organisational and regulatory environments while striving to maintain financial viability. The clinical microsystem provides a conceptual and practical framework for approaching organisational learning and delivery of care. Tensions exist between the conceptual theory and the daily practical applications of providing safe and effective care within healthcare systems. Healthcare organisations are often complex, disorganised, and opaque systems to their users and their patients. This disorganisation may lead to patient discomfort and harm as well as much waste. Healthcare organisations are in some sense conglomerates of smaller systems, not coherent monolithic organisations. The microsystem unit allows organisational leaders to embed quality and safety into a microsystem's developmental journey. Leaders can set the stage for making safety a priority for the organisation while allowing individual microsystems to create innovative strategies for improvement.