Earlier this year, the World Health Organization declared 17 September the first World Patient Day and presented it as an opportunity to speak up for patient safety.
A week or so beforehand, health leaders from across the world had met in Salzburg, Austria, at the request of Salzburg Global Seminar and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to explore ways of improving the measurement of patient safety. The Lucian Leape Institute, an initiative of the IHI, led the convening and content curation.
Participants of Moving measurement into action: designing global principles for measuring patient safety agreed that there is no single measure that allows all stakeholders in all settings to assess the past, current, and future safety of their system. Participants agreed a system of measures must be carefully designed to assess the safety of patients throughout their health journey.
The conversations in Salzburg have helped establish eight global principles for the measurement of patient safety. They feature in this new document, Salzburg Statement on Moving Measurement into Action: Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety.
The eight principles are as follows:
- The purpose of measurement is to collect and disseminate knowledge that results in action and improvement.
- Effective measurement requires the full involvement of patients, families, and communities within and across the health system.
- Safety measurement must advance equity.
- Selected measures must illuminate an integrated view of the health system across the continuum of care and the entire trajectory of the patient’s health journey.
- Data should be collected and analysed in real time to proactively identify and prevent harm as often as possible.
- Measurement systems, evidence, and practices must continuously evolve and adapt.
- The burden of measures collected and analysed must be reduced.
- Stakeholders must intentionally foster a culture that is safe and just to fully optimise the value of measurement.
These principles, which are expanded upon in the statement, are a call to action for all stakeholders to reduce harm.