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By Aislinn Antrim, Associate Editor
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared September 17, 2019 as the first annual World Patient Safety Day.
One hundred-thirty four million adverse events have contributed to 2.6 million deaths each year, due to unsafe patient care. This ever-increasing number has influenced The World Health Organization (WHO) to declare September 17, 2019 as the first World Patient Safety Day.
The campaign theme is “Patient Safety: a global health priority,” and is aimed at mobilizing patients, health workers, policy makers, and others in the health care industry to speak up on this issue.
Patient safety is defined as the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care to an acceptable minimum. The acceptable minimum is based on the collective notions of given current knowledge, resources available, and the context in which care was delivered, weighed against the risk of nontreatment or other treatment.
Medication errors, health care-associated infections, diagnostic errors, and unsafe transfusion practices are only a few of the major challenges that contribute to the burden of harm in patient safety, according to WHO.
There are different ways that everyone involved in the health care industry can spread awareness of proper patient safety. For example, if you are a patient or caregiver, it is crucial to provide accurate information about health history to a doctor. It is also highly recommended to be actively involved in your own care.
Meanwhile, if you are a health worker or health care leader, you are encouraged to continuously improve your professional development by improving your skills and knowledge in patient safety. Also, ensuring you are in an open, transparent safety culture with blame-free reporting of errors is a way to combat patient safety issues.
The WHO Patient Safety and Risk Management unit is bringing their focus into a few key areas, including: conducting more research in this topic area, engaging patients and families for safer health care, developing guidelines and tools, and providing global leadership and fostering collaboration between member states and relevant stakeholders.
WHO plans to make World Patient Safety Day an annual event. The organization's goal for future World Patient Safety Days is to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and ignite global solidarity and action.
For more information on ways to promote the new campaign, visit https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-patient-safety-day/2019.
World Patient Safety Day. World Health Organization website. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-patient-safety-day/2019. Published September 2019. Accessed September 16, 2019.