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  • WHO: World Patient Safety Day 2022

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    This year World Patient Safety Day, due to take place on Saturday 17 September 2022, will focus on medication safety, promoting safe medication practices to prevent medication errors and reducing medication-related harm. This page links to resources to mark World Patient Safety Day from the official World Health Organization (WHO) website.


    Medications are the most widely utilised interventions in healthcare, and medication-related harm constitutes the greatest proportion of the total preventable harm due to unsafe care, let alone the economic and psychological burden imposed by such harm.

    • Medication harm accounts for 50% of the overall preventable harm in medical care.
    • US$ 42 billion of global total health expenditure worldwide can be avoided if medication errors are prevented.

    Acknowledging this substantial burden and recognising the complexity of medication-related harm prevention and reduction, the theme of World Patient Safety Day 2022 is “Medication Safety”.

    The campaign is envisaged to provide the needed impetus to consolidate the efforts of the existing WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, emphasising the need to adopt a systems approach and promote safe medication practices to prevent medication errors and reduce medication-related harm. Special consideration will be given to areas where most harm occurs. The key action areas are high-risk situations, transitions of care, and polypharmacy.

    Key messages

    For policy makers and programme managers:

    • Ensure medication safety is addressed at all levels and in all settings in the health care system.
    • Assess the burden of medication-related harm in your country.
    • Integrate medication safety into every stage of patient care.
    • Co-design and implement medication safety programmes with stakeholders, including patients and public.
    • Establish a patient safety incident reporting and learning system, including medication safety incidents (medication errors and related harm).
    • Monitor progress and evaluate the impact of medication safety programmes.
    • Launch Know. Check. Ask as the medication safety campaign across the country.

    For healthcare leaders and facility managers:

    • Designate a focal point and a multidisciplinary team to develop processes to ensure medication safety in your facility.
    • Develop and implement standard operating procedures for safe medication use, taking into account the risk of human error.
    • Make sure there are sufficient staff to cover patients’ medication needs.
    • Provide opportunities to train health workers on safe medication use.
    • Operationalise a patient safety incident reporting and learning system, including medication safety incidents (medication errors and related harm).
    • Create a safety culture where health workers are able to raise safety concerns related to medications.
    • Prioritise action in areas where most medication-related harm occurs, such as high-risk situations, transitions of care and polypharmacy.
    • Put in place strategies to reduce the risk of medication errors, such as double-checking, patient engagement and using information technology to improve processes.

    For health workers:

    • Keep your skills in safe medication practices up to date.
    • Engage patients through shared decision-making using tools such as the 5 Moments for Medication Safety and implement actions related to the Know. Check. Ask campaign.
    • Provide clear and full medication-related information to all members of the clinical team throughout the process of care.
    • Report medication safety incidents, and share and apply lessons learned with your team and patients when possible.
    • Be mindful of situations where risk from medications is high and ensure safety measures are followed.
    • Mentor new members of your team on safe medication systems and practices.

    For patients, families and the general public:

    • When prescribed a medication, check with your health worker that you have all the information you need to take it safely. Follow the Know. Check. Ask actions.
    • Keep an up-to-date list of all the medications you take, including traditional medicines, and share it with your treating health workers.
    • Take your medications as recommended by your health worker.
    • Use the 5 Moments for Medication Safety tool to keep you safe while taking your medications.
    • Be aware of the potential side-effects of your medications.
    • Store your medications as indicated and check the expiration date regularly.
    • Raise any concerns about your medication with your health worker.

    Useful links:

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