Patient safety is a serious global public health concern. It is estimated that there is a 1 in 3 million risk of dying while travelling by aeroplane. In comparison, the risk of patient death occurring due to a preventable medical accident, while receiving health care, is estimated to be 1 in 300. Industries with a perceived higher risk, such as the aviation and nuclear industries, have a much better safety record than health care does.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced a Patient Safety Fact File.
- Fact 1: One in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care
- Fact 2: The occurrence of adverse events due to unsafe care is likely one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability across the world
- Fact 3: Four out of every 10 patients are harmed in primary and outpatient health care
- Fact 4: At least 1 out of every 7 Canadian dollars is spent treating the effects of patient harm in hospital care
- Fact 5: Investment in patient safety can lead to significant financial savings
- Fact 6: Unsafe medication practices and medication errors harm millions of patients and costs billions of US dollars every year
- Fact 7: Inaccurate or delayed diagnosis is one of the most common causes of patient harm and affects millions of patients
- Fact 8: Hospital infections affect up to 10 out of every 100 hospitalized patients
- Fact 9: More than 1 million patients die annually from complications due to surgery
- Fact 10: Medical exposure to radiation is a public health and patient safety concern