Why does patient safety matter?

"Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm."

-Hippocrates

Patient safety is the "prevention of errors and adverse effects to patients associated with healthcare."

-WHO20171

With new technologies, medicines and treatments, healthcare is getting more complex. Alongside human factors, this is leading to a growing recognition of the burden of adverse patient safety events. These events lead to unnecessary and preventable harm or early deaths and place disproportionate strain on the healthcare system.

Patient harm and adverse events account for around 15% of acute care expenditure in hospitals in a typical developed country.43

Burden of disease : Morbidity and mortality compare to diseases such as diabetes and cancer43

Certain adverse events are of great concern to healthcare organisations and cause significant harm to patients representing more than 65% of the burden of disease and associated costs.

What factors can lead to a patient adverse event ?

External challenges Increased number of patients with multiple pathologies Government targets de-prioritising quality and outcomes Evolving treatment practices, technologies and locations Widespread use of antibiotics in community Ageing population Increased rate of chronic diseases
Internal challenges Limited and strained resources Lack of adherence and compliance Insufficient training and education Variation in practice Complexity to implement safety measures Staff shortages and turnover Variation in practices Obsolete technology and equipment

Challenges arise throughout the entire hospital setting

Improving patient safety through technologies, practices and education cannot happen in isolation.
A culture of safety needs to flow through an entire hospital and be the top priority to ensure improvements in outcomes and quality of care.
A culture of reporting, learning, fair, and flexible.

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