Patient Safety

From hand hygiene to safe medicines, safe injections to safe surgical procedures, and accurate record keeping to explicit, understandable medicine labels, patient safety requires the establishment of strong, clear policies and procedures and constant vigilance and action to ensure adherence. Patient safety is a cornerstone of quality in health care and its success requires individual and team commitment. A collapse in patient safety can be the result of a combination of factors or a single point of failure. It relies on a range of factors, including individual behaviour, system infrastructure, and adequacy of both material and human resources, among many other elements.

The World Medical Association advocates for physicians to take a leading role in patient safety. The medical profession itself must lead the process of analyzing complex health information processes that lead to errors or create the potential for errors, as well as the associated consequences, and develop solutions to address system weaknesses. Data regarding unsafe environments, processes and behaviour must be collected. In order to learn from errors, they must be brought to light and addressed. Therefore, a blame free reporting culture must be developed. These initiatives will facilitate the development of  collective knowledge about unsafe situations and practices and the preventive action required to avoid putting patients at risk.

Person centred health care is becoming more complex and more specialised. This requires that more attention is paid to a seamless teamwork in health care. A truly collaborative practice demands a high degree of communication, passing on of task and results and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. A realistic understanding of the risks inherent in modern medicine makes it necessary that all health professionals are capable to cooperate with all relevant parties, to adopt a proactive systems approach to safety and to perform with professional responsibility. This includes first and foremost the dialogue with our patients and to pay respect to their needs, expectations, fears and hopes.

WMA was part of a mutli-disciplinerary team at the WHO to revise the existing  WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide for Medical Schools, released in 2009, towards a Multi-professional edition. The new Multi-professional WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide promotes the need for patient safety education to improve the safety of care and assists universities and schools in the fields of dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing and pharmacy to teach patient safety and focuses on a number of priority patient safety concepts to improve learning about patient safety.

WMA Current Policy & Action

World Health Professions Alliance

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