Over the last decade, patient safety has become an important global issue. To tackle this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) Patient Safety Programme has initiated the “Safer Primary Care” project. This year, the World Alliance for Patient Safety also launches a core programme called the “Global Patient Safety Challenge”.
So, what are the global trends and challenges in patient safety research? We spoke to Prof Lars-Peter Kamolz and Dr Gerald Sendlhofer, Editors-in-Chief of our forthcoming journal Safety in Health, to get some insights from these two experts.
What are the global trends in healthcare affecting quality and safety and how have they developed?
The overall trend in healthcare is considering campaigns and activities to increase patient safety. Increased safety for patients also means improved safety for employees and the organizations that they are working for.
In the past years the use of checklists for handover, discharge or surgery were implemented worldwide to ensure safe procedures. Further trends can be seen in the field of training by using simulation techniques, as well as computer-based solutions for ensuring safe procedures. In Europe, patient empowerment to increase patient safety is seen as the latest trend.
What are the challenges in this field of research?
The frequency and magnitude of avoidable adverse events was not well known until 1990s, when multiple countries reported staggering numbers of patients harmed and killed by medical errors. Recognizing that healthcare errors impact 1 in every 10 patients around the world, the WHO calls patient safety an endemic concern.
However, there are some hurdles, as investment in patient safety research and outstanding research goals by healthcare organizations and by governments are still lacking. As described by Shojania, three distinct achievements have to occur in order to show progress in patient safety: (1) Identification of interventions that reduce common types of adverse events; (2) dissemination of these effective interventions into routine practice, and (3) development of tools to measure improvements in patient safety issues.
Why do you think it’s important to have a journal to cover quality and safety in healthcare?
Safety in Health pays particular attention to global trends in healthcare that affect patient safety.
It is fundamental to healthcare policy, planning, organization, delivery, evaluation and quality improvement. The WHO, European Commission and other official bodies have suggested implementing national strategies to address the key issues relating to the improvement of patient safety.
For this reason, the journal Safety in Health pays particular attention to global trends in healthcare that affect patient safety.
What influenced your decision for the journal to be open access?
Information should be freely available for those who are interested in and open accessibility increases the visibility of the individual author’s efforts.
The journal would give scientific and healthcare managers the opportunity to encourage the dissemination of patient safety aspects and global trends in healthcare. Furthermore, authors hold the copyright.
What are you hoping to achieve with the journal and how do you see it developing?
Patient safety has emerged as a distinct healthcare discipline supported by an immature yet developing scientific framework.
Patient safety has emerged as a distinct healthcare discipline supported by an immature yet developing scientific framework. There is a significant trans-disciplinary body of theoretical and research literature that informs the science of patient safety.
The resulting patient safety knowledge continually informs improvement efforts such as: applying lessons learned from business and industry, adopting innovative technologies, educating providers and consumers, enhancing error reporting systems, and developing new economic incentives.
The Journal Safety in Health should add relevant research to the scientific community and hopefully develops fast within the next years.
About Safety in Health – Now accepting submissions
Safety in Health disseminates research related to quality and safety in healthcare. The journal encompasses global trends in healthcare affecting quality and safety, such as patient safety, training and simulation, health economics, quality and process management, as well as critical incidents including possible solutions and the legal or regulatory aspects. Find out more.