Patient safety

World Patient Safety Day, 17 September 2019

In May 2019, the 72nd World Health Assembly endorsed the establishment of World Patient Safety Day to be observed annually on 17 September. The objective of World Patient Safety Day is to raise global awareness about patient safety and encourage global solidarity and action.
The theme of the very first World Patient Safety Day is Patient Safety: a global health priority and the slogan is Speak up for Patient Safety!

Patient safety: a global health priority

Member States and non-state actors in official relations with WHO presented their statements at the WHA72 emphasizing the centrality of patient safety in health services delivery for a strengthened health care system, and the importance of government and policy makers to prioritize patient safety as the top agenda of health care policies and programmes. The commitment to patient safety is crucial for countries to progress towards universal health coverage as extending health coverage should mean extending safe care.

WHO launches three technical reports on medication safety

To decrease medication-related harm and to improve medication safety practices, WHO is launching three technical reports on high-risk situations, polypharmacy and transitions of care.

WHO has asked countries and key stakeholders to prioritize these three areas for strong commitment, early action and effective management to protect patients from harm while maximizing the benefit from medication.

Patient engagement tool for medication safety



The 5 Moments for Medication Safety are the key moments where action by the patient or caregiver can greatly reduce the risk of harm associated with the use of their medications. This tool aims to engage and empower patients to be involved in their own care.

The Fourth Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety

2–3 March 2019, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The fourth Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety was held 2–3 March 2019 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The event focused on promoting patient safety in low- and middle-income countries, which have 2/3 of the global patient harm burden. The summit brought together international patient safety experts, political decision-makers and other stakeholders involved in the global movement for patient safety.

Global Patient Safety Collaborative

WHO and the UK Government enter into new strategic collaboration towards establishment of the Global Patient Safety Collaborative (GPSC).
As countries advance towards universal health coverage (UHC), they must also improve the safety of their health systems. The GPSC will enable countries to collaborate at global, regional and national levels to focus on patient safety as one of the most important components of health care delivery, essential to achieving UHC and moving towards UN SDGs.

71st World Health Assembly 2018 side event: Global action on patient safety for achieving effective universal health coverage

This side event brought together country leaders, policy-makers, experts, patients’ networks, NGOs, civil society and Member States, providing an opportunity to countries from all WHO regions to review the underlying systemic issues affecting patient safety, share experiences in addressing barriers, and create solutions to strengthen systems and improve practices. It represented a call for urgent action by all key national and international stakeholders – policy-makers, health care leaders, professionals and patients – to improve patient safety globally while working towards achieving effective UHC.

Global campaign: Medication Without Harm

Medication Without Harm campaign was launched in Brisbane on 10 October 2017. The call for action of the global campaign is “KNOW. CHECK. ASK.” Everyone, including patients and health care professionals, has a role to play in ensuring medication safety. Campaign materials are available to download in all WHO official languages.

fact buffet

Magnitude

4 out of 10Up to 4 out of 10 patients are harmed in primary and ambulatory care settings


The economics of patient safety in primary and ambulatory care – Flying blind (OECD study)

Incidence

134 million134 million adverse events occur each year in hospitals in LMICs, contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually due to unsafe care

Crossing the global quality chasm: Improving health care worldwide

Medications

$42 billion Medication errors cost an estimated 42 billion USD annually


The third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm

Patient Safety

Patient safety is the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum. An acceptable minimum refers to the collective notions of given current knowledge, resources available and the context in which care was delivered weighed against the risk of non-treatment or other treatment.

Every point in the process of care-giving contains a certain degree of inherent unsafety.

Clear policies, organizational leadership capacity, data to drive safety improvements, skilled health care professionals and effective involvement of patients in their care, are all needed to ensure sustainable and significant improvements in the safety of health care.

Highlights

  • 28 September 2018

    Global Patient Safety Collaborative

    WHO and the UK Government enter into new strategic collaboration towards establishment of the Global Patient Safety Collaborative (GPSC). The GPSC will enable countries to collaborate at global, regional and national levels to focus on patient safety as one of the most important components of health care delivery.

  • 13-14 April 2018

    Third Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety

    With the theme of universal health care and patient safety, the third summit gathered together Ministries of Health and delegates from 44 countries and saw the issuance of the “Tokyo Declaration on Patient Safety” – reaffirming the global commitment to improving patient safety.

  • 7 June 2017

    Minimal Information Model User Guide

    The Minimal Information Model for Patient Safety (MIM PS) has been developed to provide a simple tool to start collecting data on patient safety incidents. The user guide explains each of the categories and how to implement MIM PS.

  • 19 May 2017

    WHO’s brochure: Patient Safety: Making health care safer

    This advocacy material illustrates the importance of safe care for everyone, what the burden and impact of unsafe care is, and WHO’s approach to tackling the issue of unsafe care.

  • 19 May 2017

    WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm

    This brochure outlines the vision and strategic direction of this global initiative. It provides an overview of the key components of the Challenge including the local, national and global action to be taken.

  • 29-30 March 2017

    Second Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety

    On 29 March, experts gathered to deliberate key topics in six workshops to gain consensus and synthesize key information for reporting back to the Ministers of Health from participating countries. Decision was taken to draft WHA-resolution Global action on patient safety including a World Patient Safety Day on 17 September.

  • 29 March 2017

    WHO launches global effort to halve medication-related errors in 5 years

    WHO launched a global initiative to reduce severe, avoidable medication-associated harm in all countries by 50% over the next 5 years.

  • 16 December 2016

    Technical Series on Safer Primary Care

    The WHO Technical Series on Safer Primary Care is a series of monographs that describes issues and potential solutions for improving patient safety in primary care.