What is patient safety?
The World Health Organization defines Patient Safety as:
“the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and the 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.”
Although there’s an inherent risk in giving care, we know that the following are needed to drive safe care, every time, for every patient:
- Organizational leadership capacity
- Clear policies and procedures
- Data collection to drive real-time improvements
- Proper staffing with skilled health workers
- Patients and family members engaged by health workers as valuable members of the healthcare team
What is a medical error?
The term medical error may be new to you. A medical error is a preventable adverse effect of care, whether or not it is evident or harmful to the patient. This might include an inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis or treatment of a disease, injury, syndrome, behavior, infection, or other ailments.
- Your son tests positive for COVID-19 and is admitted to the hospital. Due to the lack of masks your son’s caregiver isn’t able to stop the spread of the infection and is also infected. This is preventable.
- Your grandmother goes into the hospital for a hip replacement and gets an infection at the site of her surgery and dies five days later. This is preventable.
- Your neighbor has an asthma attack during allergy season and goes to the emergency department for relief. The medication they give to your neighbor is 10x’s stronger than it should be and he dies. This is preventable.
- Your brother is in a skateboarding accident, hits his head and becomes unconscious. In the hospital, they put a tube in his trachea, and it becomes dislodged and he dies. This is preventable.