Patient safety is a critical policy issue and remains an important challenge to all OECD health systems. Many adverse events leading to harm could have been prevented if appropriate safety protocols and clinical guidelines were followed.
The foundations for health system resilience and a capacity to minimise harm are found in strong safety governance, a 21st century information infrastructure, and sufficient, appropriately skilled workforce. The analysis is clear: unsafe care kills millions, and harms tens of millions of people each year. It also exerts a great economic cost on health systems and society, consuming valuable resources that could be put to productive uses elsewhere. Much of this can be prevented through concerted action and adequate investment OECD.
To know more about the OECD’s work on patient safety, please read our brochure.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Over 1 in 10 patients continue to be harmed from safety lapses during their care
- Only about half (54%) of health workers in OECD countries think the procedures and systems at their workplace are good at preventing errors and there is a lack of patient safety problems
- Health care settings can be unsafe places for health workers, who experience a number of harms, including exposure to infectious disease, physical harm (accidents, injury, and violence), and psychological harm (burn out, depression)
- Globally, unsafe care results in well over 3 million deaths each year. The health burden of harm is estimated at 64 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) a year, similar to that of HIV/AIDS
- Unsafe care has high financial and economic costs. In developed countries, the direct cost of treating patients who have been harmed during their care approaches 13% of health spending
ECONOMICS OF PATIENT SAFETY SERIES
- Chapter 11 The Leading Edge: The Role of Governance, Leadership, and Culture in Improving Patient Safety, in The Overlooked Pandemic - How to Transform Patient Safety and Save Healthcare Systems, The G20 Health and Development Partnership (G20HDP) and RLDatix, March 2021
- System governance towards improved patient safety, OECD Health Working Paper No. 120
- Culture as a cure: Assessments of patient safety culture in OECD countries, OECD Health Working Paper No. 119
- International Variations in a Selected Number of Surgical Procedures, OECD Health Working Paper No. 61
- Health Care Quality Indicators Project: Patient Safety Indicators Report 2009, OECD Health Working Paper No. 47
- Health Care Quality Indicators Project: Patient Safety Indicators Report 2009, OECD Health Working Paper No. 47 Annex
- Facilitating Cross-National Comparisons of Indicators for Patient Safety at the Health-System Level in the OECD Countries, Health Technical Paper No. 19
- Patient-Reported Safety Indicators: Question Set and Data Collection Guidance (PRIMs), December 2019
- Patient Safety Data Systems in the OECD - Conference report, March 2007
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