High Quality and Safe Care

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States (1) and, closer to home, within the UK (2). Considering the enduring problems and limited improvements that healthcare organisations have made in delivering high quality, safe patient care, it is widely recognised that new approaches are required (3).

Patient safety has traditionally been defined and measured by its absence – the absence of error or harm. Errors are identified, causes and explanations are sought, and barriers are implemented to prevent them from happening again. Safety II, understanding how and when safety happens, rather than focusing on its absence, is now gaining credence as an approach to managing patient safety. This approach, alongside existing strategies, have the potential to engage staff, encourage patient involvement and change culture. Our group is at the forefront of this movement.

Doctor handing patient a specimen bottle

Our aim over the next five years is to adopt and develop, with our international collaborators, this more positive paradigm (Safety II) for patient safety across all of our themes of work and to work together to translate these findings into practice. We will, at the same time, build capacity and capability to meet the NHS demand for innovative and effective solutions to patient safety problems.

Our priorities will focus on the four themes of our NIHR-funded Patient Safety Translational Research Centre:

  1. Patient involvement in patient safety
  2. Workforce engagement and wellbeing
  3. Safe use of medicines
  4. Use of digital innovations and informatics

We will also build on recent large scale funding that directly addresses a key NHS priority – promoting patient safety at transitions of care. The facilities and opportunities for collaborative working afforded by the CAHR will allow us to operate at the cutting edge of patient safety research.

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  1. Makary and Daniel, 2016.
  2. Hogan et al., 2012.
  3. Bisognano and Schummers, 2014; Hollnagel, Braithwaite, and Wears, 2013; Vincent and Amalberti, 2016