1 February 2012
- Estimates show that in developed countries as many as one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care.
- The harm can be caused by a range of errors or adverse events.
- The risk of health care-associated infection in some developing countries is as much as 20 times higher than in developed countries.
- At any given time, 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infections acquired in hospitals.
- Hand hygiene is the most essential measure for reducing health care-associated infection and the development of antimicrobial resistance.
- At least 50% of medical equipment in developing countries is unusable or only partly usable.
- Often the equipment is not used due to lack of skills or commodities. As a result, diagnostic procedures or treatments cannot be performed.
- This leads to substandard or hazardous diagnosis or treatment that can pose a threat to the safety of patients and may result in serious injury or death.
- In some countries, the proportion of injections given with syringes or needles reused without sterilization is as high as 70%.
- This exposes millions of people to infections.
- Each year, unsafe injections cause 1.3 million deaths, primarily due to transmission of blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and HIV.
- Surgery is one of the most complex health interventions to deliver. More than 100 million people require surgical treatment every year for different medical reasons.
- In developed countries, problems associated with surgical safety account for half of the avoidable adverse events that result in death or disability.
- The economic benefits of improving patient safety are compelling.
- Studies show that additional hospitalization, litigation costs, infections acquired in hospitals, lost income, disability and medical expenses have cost some countries between US$6 billion and US$29 billion a year.
- Industries with a perceived higher risk such as aviation and nuclear plants have a much better safety record than health care.
- There is a one in 1 million chance of a traveller being harmed while in an aircraft.
- There is a one in 300 chance of a patient being harmed during health care.
- Patients' experience and their health are at the heart of the patient safety movement.
- The World Alliance for Patient Safety is working with 40 champions – who have in the past suffered due to lack of patient safety measures – to help make health care safer worldwide.