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  • World Patient Safety Day 2024

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    This year’s World Patient Safety Day on 17 September 2024 is focused on the theme “Improving diagnosis for patient safety”. This article explains the aims of the event and the areas it will cover.


    Tuesday 17 September 2024 marks the fifth annual World Patient Safety Day. World Patient Safety Day aims to:

    • increase public awareness and engagement
    • enhance global understanding
    • work towards global solidarity and action by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.

    The theme of this year’s event is “Improving diagnosis for patient safety”.

    Errors can happen at every stage of the diagnostic process and can happen in all healthcare settings. Diagnostic errors can be broadly divided into three categories:

    1. Delayed diagnosis – where harm is caused because of a health condition not being identified at an earlier stage. This may  happen because of failure to use the correct tests, outdated forms of assessment or failure to act on results of monitoring or testing.
    2. Incorrect diagnosis – where the wrong diagnosis is made and the true cause is then discovered later on. This can lead to patients receiving the wrong treatments, that may even be harmful. They also  may not receive the appropriate treatment for their condition.
    3. Missed diagnosis – where a patient’s illness or health condition is not identified, which can result in their condition worsening and avoidable harm because they are not receiving any treatment.

    Objectives of World Patient Safety Day 2024

    Through the slogan “Get it right, make it safe”, WHO is calling for concerted efforts to significantly reduce diagnostic errors through a variety of interventions rooted in systems thinking, human factors and actively engaging patients, their families, health workers and healthcare leaders. These interventions include—but are not limited to—making sure clinicians have a complete patient history, undertaking thorough clinical examinations, improving access to diagnostic tests, implementing methods to measure and learn from diagnostic errors, and adopting technology-based solutions.

    As part of this, WHO has set four objectives:

    1. Raise global awareness of errors in diagnosis contributing to patient harm and emphasise the pivotal role of correct, timely and safe diagnosis in improving patient safety.
    2. Give prominence to diagnostic safety in patient safety policy and clinical practice at all levels of health care, aligned with the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030.
    3. Foster collaboration among policy-makers, health care leaders, health workers, patient organisations, and other stakeholders in advancing correct, timely and safe diagnosis.
    4. Empower patients and families to actively engage with health workers and health care leaders to improve diagnostic processes.

    Share your views and experiences on the hub

    Do you have an experience around diagnostic safety that you would like to share? Or perhaps you are a healthcare professional looking to share your insights to help improve patient safety?

    You can share your thoughts with us by commenting below (sign up here for free first), submitting a blog, or by emailing us at content@pslhub.org.

    You can also find a number of existing resources, tools and stories relating to diagnosis and patient safety on the hub here.

    World Patient Safety Day 2024 https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2024/09/17/default-calendar/world-patient-safety-day-17-september-2024-improving-diagnosis-for-patient-safety
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