Patient safety

Summary of the evidence on patient safety: Implications for research

Publication details

Number of pages: 136
Publication date: 2008
Languages: English
ISBN: 9789241596541



In order to understand the scope of the issues facing policy-makers and researchers involved in improving the safety of health care, existing research on patient safety has been summarized. This report contains several key findings. Firstly, the available data suggests that harm from medical care poses a substantial burden in terms of morbidity and mortality on people around the world. Secondly, much of the evidence base has been created in the developed countries.

Although there is some epidemiological evidence of poor clinical outcomes due to unsafe medical care in low- and middle-income countries, the information on structural and process factors that contribute to unsafe care is derived almost entirely from a small number of high-income countries. Its applicability to patient safety in other countries is not well known. Finally, although some of the means for reducing harm are known, large gaps in knowledge need to be filled before comprehensive solutions can be found.

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