Patient safety is safeguarding the patient in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers patient safety a fundamental discipline that involves every aspect of a comprehensive health care system.
A 2017 study by Harvard University showed that nearly 5,000,000 deaths occur in India annually due to medical errors triggered by a lack of practical knowledge among the doctors and nurses to handle patients when brought to the hospital. Experts claim that specialized courses for doctors and hospital staff focusing on how a critically ill or injured patient should be handled could bring down the figure by almost 50 percent.
The comprehensive course includes imparting training to the new and existing doctors of a hospital receiving critical care patients either on a high-fidelity simulation or preserved dead bodies to make them understand the crucial steps to prevent errors.
Globally, September 17 is celebrated as World Patient Safety Day. It is one of WHO’s global public health days. It was established in 2019 by the 72nd World Health Assembly through the adoption of resolution WHA 72.6 - ‘Global Action on Patient Safety ‘. The day focuses on preventing and minimizing risks, errors, and harm that patients face. Its objectives are to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and work toward global solidarity and action by the Member States to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.
Unsafe medication practices and medication errors are leading causes of avoidable harm in health care across the world. Medication errors occur when weak medication systems and human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions, or staff shortages affect the safety of the medication use process. This can result in severe patient harm, disability, and even death. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly exacerbated the risk of medication errors and associated medication-related harm. It is in this context that ‘Medication Safety’ has been selected as the theme for World Patient Safety Day 2022, with the slogan ‘Medication Without Harm’.
Objectives of World Patient Safety Day 2022
- Raise global awareness of the high burden of medication-related harm due to medication errors and unsafe practices, and advocate urgent action to improve medication safety.
- Engage key stakeholders and partners in the efforts to prevent medication errors and reduce medication-related harm.
- Empower patients and families to be actively involved in the safe use of medication.
- Sclae up implementation of the WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm.