This week is Patient Safety Awareness Week, an annual recognition event intended to encourage everyone to learn more about healthcare safety. During this week, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) seeks to advance important discussions locally and globally, and inspire action to improve the safety of the health care system — for patients and the workforce.
Patient Safety Awareness Week serves as a dedicated time and platform for growing awareness about patient safety and recognising the work already being done.
Although there has been real progress made in patient safety over the past two decades, current estimates cite medical harm as a leading cause of death worldwide.
The World Health Organization estimates that 134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries, resulting in some 2.6 million deaths. Additionally, some 40 percent of patients experience harm in ambulatory and primary care settings with an estimated 80 percent of these harms being preventable, according to WHO.
Some studies suggest that as many as 400,000 deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of errors or preventable harm. Not every case of harm results in death, yet they can cause long-term impact on the patient's physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family relationships.
Preventing harm in healthcare settings is a public health concern. Everyone interacts with the health care system at some point in life. And everyone has a role to play in advancing safe healthcare.
Learn more about IHI's work to advance patient safety.