World Patient Safety Day takes place annually on September 17 to raise awareness and drive worldwide intervention for the safety of patients. The observance inspires countries across the globe to prioritize patient safety in the healthcare system. The most basic definition of patient safety is putting an end to avoidable errors and negative practices suffered by patients within healthcare settings. Alongside the progress made in healthcare systems over the years, it has also become more complex with new technology, treatments, and medicines being introduced.
History of World Patient Safety Day
Patient safety highlights the importance of preventing or reducing the risks, errors, and avoidable harm suffered by healthcare patients. World Patient Safety Day is among the 11 global health campaigns sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The topic of patient safety emerged as a result of the increasing complexity of the healthcare system and the surge in cases of patient harm caused by errors and complacency. Cases of patient harm brought on by negligence are among the top causes of mortality in patients around the world.
Recent studies indicate that predominantly low- to middle-income nations record over 134 million cases of patient harm after receiving medical care. This results in about 2.6 million fatalities annually. High-income nations have relatively lower numbers with one in 10 suffering further complications after receiving medical care.
World Patient Safety Day was created in May 2019 when the World Health Assembly adopted the resolution for global action on patient safety. The global campaign was the brainchild of the series of Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety conducted annually since 2016. It involved strong advocacy and commitment from major international stakeholders.
Healthcare workers can improve patient safety by adopting several safe practices in administering care. It could be as simple as providing patients access to medical records and notes. Another effective measure is to directly involve patients and their caregivers in the decision-making process when delivering healthcare services. They should clearly understand their options regarding treatment and diagnosis.
World Patient Safety Day timeline
The world’s highest health policy-setting body, the World Health Assembly, is established.
The German Coalition for Patient Safety starts advocating for World Patient Safety Day.
The Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety is conducted for the first time.
The World Health Assembly creates World Patient Safety Day.
World Patient Safety Day FAQs
What is patient safety culture?
Patient safety culture describes the extent to which any organization’s recognized culture promotes and reflects patient safety. It considers the norms, beliefs, and values that healthcare practitioners share and how it influences their behavior and actions.
What report first sparked the current patient safety movement?
In 1999, the International Organization for Migration (I.O.M.) released the report “To Err Is Human,” which was among the earliest to address the patient safety culture in the United States healthcare system.
How did the National Patient Safety Goals come about?
In 2002, the Joint Commission created the National Patient Safety Goals (N.P.S.G.) program. The aim was to support accredited organizations in addressing key issues concerning patient safety.
How to Observe World Patient Safety Day
Attend an event
Healthcare providers, patients, caregivers, and policymakers organize several events to emphasize the importance of patient safety. You can attend one of these seminars, webinars, or discussion forums to learn more and contribute.
Light up the community
Cities around the world use orange lighting to illuminate local monuments. This symbolic act celebrates the contributions of healthcare workers to society.
Share on social media
Show your support for patient safety by sharing important information on social media. Use the hashtag #WorldPatientSafetyDay.
5 Important Facts About Patients
One too many
According to the WHO, there are over one million fatalities annually during or shortly after surgery.
About two million people suffer yearly due to unsafe care.
One in 300
One in 300 people is harmed while receiving healthcare.
Newborn mortality and stillbirths can be reduced by providing safe care using skilled professionals in a supportive environment.
Patient harm is a major issue
Patient harm is No. 14 on the list of global disease burdens, which is almost comparable to malaria or tuberculosis.
Why World Patient Safety Day is Important
It improves healthcare delivery
World Patient Safety Day was created to inform the public about the dangers of ignoring patient safety. It aims to establish community and patient programs that spark discussions to improve healthcare delivery.
It drives governments to act
This observance inspires governments to take proactive steps to ensure patient safety. By implementing strategies to manage the risks to patient health, they’re improving their safety greatly.
It encourages collaboration
Events organized to mark World Patient Safety Day unite governments and local/international organizations to form partnerships that work towards improving global healthcare. The importance of this day can’t be understated.
World Patient Safety Day dates