15 Sep 2022

Protecting patients

Saturday 17 September marks World Patient Safety Day, an annual campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness and understanding of how reduce the risk of harm in healthcare. This year the event will focus on medication safety and highlight the potentially fatal consequences of errors, unsafe practices and system weaknesses.

Medication errors are a leading cause of avoidable harm in healthcare around the world and the Covid-19 pandemic has raised the risk of medication-related harm. The WHO says: “Medication errors occur when weak medication systems and human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages affect the safety of the medication use process. This can result in severe patient harm, disability and even death.”

Applying human factors thinking is already helping healthcare professionals create safer environments for patients and this week also sees the launch of new advice for the sector. The second chapter of the ebook Making Human Factors and Ergonomics Work in Health and Social Care can be downloaded for free from our website. Written by a team of experts, it provides a practical introduction to healthcare ergonomics aimed at people responsible for implementing human factors programmes and interventions.

It says: “People work for and within organisations, and so the culture of those organisations powerfully influences work performance. The ability of the workforce to deliver successful outcomes depends on the work context, and much of that context is defined by the organisational values and the way in which they are reflected in norms and behaviours. Taking time to explore and understand your own organisation allows a deeper understanding of the barriers to and facilitators of improved performance, safety and wellbeing.”

The first chapter of the ebook is also available to download and a third instalment will be released later.

Download the latest chapter

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