Best practices in patient safety

Guide for educators to teach providers

The World Health Organization has published the "Multi-professional Patient Safety Curriculum Guide" to help educators around the world train health professionals to bring about improvements in patient safety.

In a foreword included in the guide, Sir Liam Donaldson, WHO's envoy for patient safety, writes that patient safety became a global movement following the Institute of Medicine's "To Err is Human" report in 1999 and a 2000 report from Britain's Chief Medical Office.

"Yet, the current state of patient safety worldwide is still a source of deep concern," he notes. "As data on the scale and nature of errors and adverse events have been more widely gathered, it has become apparent that unsafe care is a feature of virtually every aspect of health care."

The guide includes teaching slides on 11 topics ranging from improving medication safety to effective teamwork and infection prevention and control. Its slides explain why patient safety has become an urgent concern: Patients can't rely on antibiotics; there is an increased rate of nosocomial infections; and infected patients stay in hospitals longer, might die, and are prone to surgical site infections). It also discusses causes of infections and strategies for preventing them, including hand washing, housekeeping, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

WHO wants facilities to start with Part A of the guide, which is an educator's guide containing advice on how to introduce and build patient safety courses. The organization has posted endorsement letters from the International Council of Nurses and the International Pharmaceutical Federation.

The guide is available at http://www.who.int/patientsafety/education/curriculum/Curriculum_Tools/en/index.html.