The deluge of new initiatives, proposals and recommendations for solving the problems required to improve patient safety and quality of health care continues unabated. Implementing the proposed solutions for improving patient safety and quality of care requires setting priorities for action throughout the different levels of the health-care system. Currently, we face the dilemma of having to set priorities from the plentiful themes that are intuitively sensible and well accepted. There is an increasing number of examples of using systematic processes which contain explicit and transparent criteria for priority setting in patient safety and quality initiatives. These should be more widely adopted and become a key requirement for all future proposals for improving patient safety and quality of health care.