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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-11

1999–2019: Twenty years of watershed moments for patient safety

1 Saudi Patient Safety Center, Riyadh, KSA
2 Saudi Critical Care Society, Former President, Co-Founder and Board Member

Correspondence Address:
Yasser Mandourah
Saudi Critical Care Society, Former President, Co-Founder and Board Member

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2543-1854.259479

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The case for patient safety is obvious; no one would argue in favor of harming patients. Since the launch of the paper To Err is Human, patient safety has been on the forefront of public health policymakers' priorities. Yet, 20 years later, while progress has been made, harm to patients is still a reality, daily, in health systems over the world. As countries reform their health systems, the national health programs must ensure not only the integration of universal health coverage (UHC) but also that the health coverage provided is safe. To this point, new models of care must be designed and implemented, and organizations should aim to achieve high-reliability care, similar to other industries that keep a solid safety record. This can be achieved by aiming for high-reliability organization principles, ensuring empowerment of patients as codesigners of health care, workforce safety to ensure safety of patients, and UHC without harm and proper regulation of digital health to avoid unintended adverse consequences. Since the past 20 years, the knowledge gap on patient safety has been shortened and therefore the health-care community holds a firm foundation for starting to implement evidence-based strategies that ensure safe care. The Jeddah Declaration on Patient Safety, 2019, is an actionable document that provides guidance to policy- and decision-makers globally that aim to achieve UHC free of harm. Nevertheless, given the high-level of complexity of health-care systems and its vulnerability to error, the question is what is the way forward toward a safer provision of care? How can the year 2019 be the watershed moment for the health-care industry?

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