Politiques et données sur la santé

Patient Safety


Patient safety is a critical policy issue and remains an important challenge to all OECD health systems. Many adverse events leading to harm could have been prevented if appropriate safety protocols and clinical guidelines were followed.

Reducing the occurrence of adverse event and harm would reduce waste, release resources and make the case for more efficient and effective health systems in the OECD.

The OECD is joining forces with the international patient safety community to celebrate the first World Patient Safety Day on the 17th of September. To know more about the OECD’s work on patient safety, please read our brochure.


World Patient Safety Day - SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

The OECD is releasing new reports on World Patient Safety Day 2020:


  • Patient harm is estimated to be the 14th leading cause of global disease burden, comparable to TB, malaria and some types of cancer
  • On average, 1 in 10 hospitalisations results in safety failure or adverse event
  • As many as 4 out of 10 patients experience safety issues in primary and ambulatory care settings
  • Up to 15% of hospital expenditure and activity in the OECD countries can be attributed to treating patient safety failures
  • Many adverse events are preventable. The costs of prevention are dwarfed by the costs of failure, leading to waste in health systems across the OECD

The type of adverse events may vary by care setting



Adapted from Kingston-Riechers J. et al (2010), Etchells et al (2012), Levinson (2014).
Source: The economics of patient safety: Strengthening a value-based approach to reducing patient harm at national level, p.10. OECD Health Working Paper No. 96. March 2017.


The OECD has produced two reports on the Economics of Patient Safety, informing the Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety in 2017 and 2018:

The OECD also prepared a report for the 3rd Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety in Tokyo, enabled by a voluntary contribution from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare:





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