About the Patient Safety Movement

The Patient Safety Movement Foundation is a global non-profit organization with a vision to achieve ZERO preventable patient harm and death across the globe by 2030. As an organization, its mission is to urgently unify people and collectively improve patient safety across the globe

Every year, there are over 200,000 preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals and more than three million deaths globally as a result of unsafe care. Yet, most still do not recognize patient safety as a global crisis. The Patient Safety Movement Foundation focuses on bringing stakeholders together to raise awareness and rally around eliminating preventable patient harm and deaths.

Press Releases

Takeaways from Dr. Death Episode 1 and Tips to Stay Safe

By: Phoebe Barker, MPH Student, Intern, Patient Safety Movement Foundation Episode 1 Synopsis The new series Dr. Death is based […]


Breakdowns in communication were the leading cause of sentinel events (death or serious harm to a patient that requires further review) reported to The Joint Commission between 1995 and 20061

The Joint Commission. (2013). Sentinel Events (SE). Retrieved from https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/CAMH_2012_Update2_24_SE.pdf

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that nearly half of hospital staff believe patient information is lost during transfers across hospital units or during shift changes2

Sorra, J. and Nieva, V. F. (2004). Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

With 67% of patients facing unintended medication discrepancies in the hospital and more than 40% of medication reconciliation errors resulting from miscommunications in handoffs, medication safety has become a leading priority for patients and caregivers3

Tam, V. C. (2005). Frequency, type and clinical importance of medication history errors at admission to hospital: a systematic review. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 173(5), 510–515. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.045311

It is estimated that as high as 80 percent of medical bills contain errors4

Gooch, Kelly. (2016). “Medical billing errors growing, says Medical Billing Advocates of America.” Becker’s Hospital Review. Retrieved from https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/medical-billing-errors-growing-says-medical-billing-advocates-of-america.html

According to the WHO, 1 in 10 patients may be harmed while receiving care in developed countries while receiving hospital care5

World Health Organization. (2018). 10 facts on patient safety. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/patient_safety/en/

According the WHO, European data, mostly from European Union Member States, consistently show that medical errors and health-care related adverse events occur in 8% to 12% of hospitalizations. For example, the United Kingdom Department of Health, in its 2000 report An organization with a memory, estimated about 850 000 adverse events a year (10% of hospital admissions). Spain (in its 2005 national study of adverse events) and France and Denmark have published incidence studies with similar results.6

World Health Organization. A brief synopsis on patient safety. (2010).

According to the WHO, Statistics show that strategies to reduce the rate of adverse events in the European Union alone would lead to the prevention of more than 750 000 harm-inflicting medical errors per year, leading in turn to over 3.2 million fewer days of hospitalization, 260 000 fewer incidents of permanent disability, and 95 000 fewer deaths per year.7

Euro.who.int. (2018). Data and statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/patient-safety/data-and-statistics

According to the WHO, Patient safety is a serious global public health issue. There is a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of a traveler being harmed while in an aircraft. In comparison, there is a 1 in 300 chance of a patient being harmed during health care.8

World Health Organization. (2018). 10 facts on patient safety. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/patient_safety/en/

Public health education and advocacy initiatives, such as anti-tobacco and cancer awareness campaigns, totaled an estimated $77.9 billion in 2013, less than 3% of total health spending.9

Dieleman, J. L., Baral, R., Birger, M., Bui, A. L., Bulchis, A., Chapin, A., … & Lavado, R. (2016). US spending on personal health care and public health, 1996-2013. JAMA, 316(24), 2627-2646.

By 2020, non-communicable diseases are expected to account for 7 out of 10 deaths in developing regions.10

Boutayeb, A., & Boutayeb, S. (2005). The burden of non communicable diseases in developing countries. International Journal for Equity in Health, 4(1), 1.

Unsafe surgery is the third leading cause of death globally.11

Nadmin, P. O. (2015, June 22). Unsafe surgery and anaesethesia lead to third of all deaths. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from http://www.opnews.com/2015/06/safe-surgery-anaesethesia-third-deaths/11529

2010 research claims that 17 million people die per year due to lack of access to affordable safety surgery.12

Millions dying due to lack of access to affordable and safe surgery: report. (2015, April 26). Retrieved December 22, 2016, from http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4224506.htm

The United States spends more on health care annually than any other country yet ranks only 36th in the world for life expectancy.13

World Health Organization. (2000). WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ASSESSES THE WORLD’S HEALTH SYSTEMS.(cited 2010 June 8).

Did you know? No U.S. standard exists to quantify harm or death due to medical error.14

Donaldson, M. S., Corrigan, J. M., & Kohn, L. T. (Eds.). (2000). To err is human: Building a safer health system(Vol. 6). National Academies Press.

Human error has been implicated in nearly 80% of adverse events that occur in complex healthcare systems.15

Palmieri, P. A.; DeLucia, P. R.; Ott, T. E.; Peterson, L. T.; Green, A. (2008). The anatomy and physiology of error in averse healthcare events. Advances in Health Care Management. 7. pp. 33–68. doi:10.1016/S1474-8231(08)07003-1ISBN 978-1-84663-954-8ISSN 1474-8231

Research estimates over 200,000 deaths are attributed to medical errors each year in the United States.16

Donaldson, M. S., Corrigan, J. M., & Kohn, L. T. (Eds.). (2000). To err is human: Building a safer health system (Vol. 6). National Academies Press.

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