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.
The foundations for health system resilience and a capacity to minimise harm are found in strong safety governance, a 21st century information infrastructure, and sufficient, appropriately skilled workforce. The analysis is clear: unsafe care kills millions, and harms tens of millions of people each year. It also exerts a great economic cost on health systems and society, consuming valuable resources that could be put to productive uses elsewhere. Much of this can be prevented through concerted action and adequate investment OECD.
To know more about the OECD’s work on patient safety, please read our brochure.
DID YOU KNOW?
- As many as one-in-ten hospitalisations in OECD countries may be caused by a medication-related event, and as many one-in-five inpatients experience medication-related harms during hospitalisation
- Costs from avoidable admissions due to medication-related events and added length of stay due to preventable hospital-acquired medication-related harms total over USD 54 billion in OECD countries. This figure is equivalent to 11% of total pharmaceutical spending
- Almost half of all patients receive prescriptions for medications that do not meet their clinical needs—medications with inappropriate dosing or duration, or even a completely inappropriate medication altogether or medication when an alternative intervention may be as—or more—effective. Beyond this, estimates suggest that half of all medicines (those prescribed, purchased, or dispensed) are not taken appropriately
ECONOMICS OF PATIENT SAFETY SERIES
- Developing international benchmarks of patient safety culture in hospital care, OECD Health Working Paper No. 134
- Chapter 11 The Leading Edge: The Role of Governance, Leadership, and Culture in Improving Patient Safety, in The Overlooked Pandemic - How to Transform Patient Safety and Save Healthcare Systems, The G20 Health and Development Partnership (G20HDP) and RLDatix, March 2021
- System governance towards improved patient safety, OECD Health Working Paper No. 120
- Culture as a cure: Assessments of patient safety culture in OECD countries, OECD Health Working Paper No. 119
- International Variations in a Selected Number of Surgical Procedures, OECD Health Working Paper No. 61
- Health Care Quality Indicators Project: Patient Safety Indicators Report 2009, OECD Health Working Paper No. 47
- Health Care Quality Indicators Project: Patient Safety Indicators Report 2009, OECD Health Working Paper No. 47 Annex
- Facilitating Cross-National Comparisons of Indicators for Patient Safety at the Health-System Level in the OECD Countries, Health Technical Paper No. 19
- Patient-Reported Safety Indicators: Question Set and Data Collection Guidance (PRIMs), December 2019
- Patient Safety Data Systems in the OECD - Conference report, March 2007
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