World Patient Safety Day 2021

3 minute read

The World Health Organization (WHO) is celebrating World Patient Safety Day on September 17th, 2021. The Patient Safety Movement is commemorating this day both in small, in-person events (due to COVID-19) and a larger virtual event called #UniteForSafeCare. You can see if there is an in-person event in your area by going to the #UniteForSafeCare website here.

World Patient Safety Day was first established in 2019 by the 72nd World Health Assembly through the adoption of resolution WHA72.6 “Global action on Patient Safety.” The goals of WHO’s World Patient Safety Day are to improve global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in health care safety, and promote global action to prevent and reduce avoidable harm in healthcare. The signature mark of this global campaign is to light up iconic monuments, landmarks, and public places in the color orange! In Geneva in 2019, “le Jet d’eau,” and last year the Egyptian Pyramids were illuminated with orange lights in honor of patient safety.

We are supporting World Patient Safety Day’s mission and goals through both virtual and limited in-person events. We’ve planned a small walk at the Great Park in Irvine, California on September 10th, 2021 where we will place orange flags in memory of those who have been harmed and died due to unsafe care. We will also do another small walk in Washington, DC, on September 17th, 2021. The DC march will start at Freedom Plaza and end on the lawn of the Capitol Building. Under the banner of “Unite for Safe Care,” we are hosting a several hour virtual event that includes patient families who have lost loved ones, politicians, leaders in patient safety, entertainers and many others who support the cause of patient safety. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, will be among many speaking up for safe care at #UniteForSafeCare. We are also excited for the showrunner and cast of the TV series Dr. Death to join us for a session about what they learned about patient safety through the show. 

On World Patient Safety Day, we can bring all involved in patient care and make a difference. We need the public to demand safe and reliable care; we need patient families and patients who have been harmed to speak up; we need politicians to tell us what can be done in the legislature; we need industry to lead us out of harm’s way with new technology; we need health care executives to commit institutions to “Zero Harm.” Together, we can make a global difference.

Please join us on September 17th for our #UniteForSafeCare event in honor of World Patient Safety Day. The PSMF’s “Patient Safety Moonshot™” endeavors to make health care a safer environment with zero harm and zero preventable deaths. 

Mike Ramsay, M.D.

Chairman, Patient Safety Movement Foundation

Past President, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, Dallas, TX

Chair Emeritus, Department of Anesthesiology, Baylor University Medical Center