Primary care services provide an entry point into the health system which directly impact's people well-being and their use of other health care resources. Patient safety has been recognised as an issue of global importance for the past 10 years. Unsafe primary and ambulatory care results in greater morbidity, higher healthcare usage and economic costs. According to data from World Health Organisation (WHO), the risk of a patient dying from preventable medical accident while receiving health care is 1 in 300, which is much higher than risk of dying while travelling in an airplane. Unsafe medication practices and inaccurate and delayed diagnosis are the most common causes of patient harm which affects millions of patients globally. However, majority of the work has been focussed on hospital care and there is very less understanding of what can be done to improve patient safety in primary care. Provision of safe primary care is priority as every day millions of people use primary care services across the world.
This paper, published in The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, focuses on various aspects of patient safety, especially in the primary care settings and also provides some potential solutions in order to reduce patient harm as much as possible. Some important challenges regarding patient safety in India are also highlighted.
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