Patient Safety 101: The Fundamentals
What is Patient Safety?
The breadth of the field of patient safety is captured in various definitions. It has been defined as avoiding harm to patients from care that is intended to help them.1 It involves the prevention and mitigation of harm caused by errors of omission or commission in healthcare, and the establishment of operational systems and processes that minimize the likelihood of errors and maximize the likelihood of intercepting them when they occur.2
Primers Starter Pack
Curated by the PSNet Editoral Team, our Featured Primers in the "Primer Starter Pack" are the recommended must read for all users of PSNet. These Primers cover foundational topics such as medication errors, adverse events, and diagnostic errors.
Human factors engineering is the discipline that attempts to identify and address safety problems that arise due to the interaction between people, technology, and work environments.
Health care organizations use a variety of established and emerging methods to prospectively identify safety hazards before errors have occurred and to retrospectively analyze errors to prevent future harm.
The terms adverse events, near misses, and medical errors are used in patient safety to refer to events where patients were harmed (or easily could have been).
Measuring patient safety is a complex and evolving field, and achieving accurate and reliable measurement strategies remains a challenge for the safety field.
This Primer provides an overview of the history and current status of the patient safety field and key definitions and concepts. It links to other Patient Safety Primers that discuss the concepts in more detail.