World Patient Safety Day September 17, 2020

World Patient Safety Day September 17, 2020

September 11, 2020
Published by Nancy Globus

World Patient Safety Day is coming up on September 17, 2020. It will be an important day to acknowledge this year as we face the trials and challenges of a global pandemic. It is a day to recognize the steps taken to ensure patient safety across healthcare internationally.

What is World Patient Safety Day? Why is it important?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 134 million adverse events due to unsafe care in hospitals occur worldwide each year, contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually. Further, it is estimated that four out of 10 patients are harmed in primary and ambulatory settings, with most of the harm being preventable.  Statistics like these led to the introduction of World Patient Safety Day in May 2019, when the 72nd World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA 72.6, better known as “global action on patient safety.” The goal is to recognize patient safety as a global health priority. Establishing World Patient Safety Day is a means to accomplish this and can be observed annually on September 17. The objectives of this day include enhancing global understanding of patient safety, increasing public engagement, and promoting global actions to reduce patient harm. The origin of this day is grounded in one of the fundamentals of medicine – the Hippocratic Oath. “Above All, Do No Harm.”

Every year, World Patient Safety Day focuses on a new theme that raises awareness and promotes positive change around patient safety. The theme of the first World Patient Safety Day focused on establishing the legacy of this initiative and highlighting the importance of prioritizing and addressing patient safety on a global scale. Events were held across the globe including lighting up buildings and monuments with the color orange in recognition of patient safety. This successfully worked to increase public awareness and engagement which can spur global action.

This orange “light up” due to another ongoing crisis: Wildfires in the San Francisco Bay area.
Photo credit: Scott Globus

2020: The year of the pandemic

This year’s theme is “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety,” with the slogan “safe health workers, safe patients.” The focus of the theme is the relationship between health worker safety and patient safety.

This year’s slogan emphasizes the need for a safe working environment for healthcare workers in order to ensure patient safety. The current COVID-19 pandemic presents one of the biggest challenges our world has faced, resulting in a substantial effect on patient safety. Worldwide, hospitals and clinics are overwhelmed by the number and acuity of patients seeking care. Despite the ebb and flow of COVID cases in some regions, it is evident that healthcare workers are stressed and exhausted. The long hours, lack of essential supplies, and the looming fear of another spike in the number of cases has a profound effect on healthcare workers in all clinical settings. Working in these stressful environments exacerbates many safety risks, including increased risks of infection, violence, accidents, stigma, illness and death. Such conditions create an error-prone environment, which can lead to patient harm.

As we know, a stressful environment is one aspect of many that can contribute to unsafe situations for patient and workers, and one of the many factors that come together to cause medication errors. Awareness that errors and other unsafe situations occur is the first step in creating environments, products, and culture that provide the foundation for providing safe care.

Continuing on 2019’s theme of making a commitment to patient safety, ACMA Approve reaffirms this commitment. ACMA aids the industry in preventing medication errors by identifying risks and providing actionable mitigation strategies prior to product launch.

Among the events commemorating this year’s World Patient Safety Day, will be the #uniteforsafecare event, held live (virtually) on YouTube on September 17 at 5:00 pm EDT. Keynote speakers for this event include Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (director general for the WHO) and former President Bill Clinton. These speakers, and others, will address themes and questions including medical errors, tips on how patients can keep themselves safe in hospitals, as well as testimonials from health workers about COVID-19, mental health and burnout of health workers.

The assistance of Michal Kaczynski, PharmD candidate 2021 in preparing this piece is gratefully acknowledged.

Published by

Nancy Globus

World Patient Safety Day September 17, 2020

#patient safety | #health outcomes

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