Patient safety is a global health concern. It describes the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care.
According to the WHO, there is a 1 in a million chance of a person being harmed while travelling by plane. In comparison, there is a 1 in 300 chance of a patient being harmed during health care.
Managing Director of the Nyaho Medical Center, Dr EC Tamakloe has advocated for an all-inclusive approach towards improving patient safety, stating that reducing unsafe medical practices and medical errors will not only require the responsibility of the health care professional but all other stakeholders such as the patient, the patient’s advocate and
He pleaded that, It was imperative that together we build capacity in quality care among peers. “It is time Patient Safety in Ghana is taken beyond the rhetoric and actions tabled to ensure that together, key stakeholders in healthcare, chart attainable milestones in Ghana’s healthcare system.”
Dr E.C Tamaklo made the call at the just ended DKNT medical symposium; an annual symposium that is held in honor of Dr. Kwami Nyaho Tamaklo (DKNT), founder of Nyaho Medical Centre.
The third in sequence event, sought to create a platform that encourages stimulating discussions to influence policies in Ghana’s private and public healthcare sector and consequently improve on patient outcomes.
This year’s theme “The Future of Patient Safety in Ghana; The Way Forward” was selected as a sequel to the theme for last year’s which was “Improving the Quality of Healthcare in Ghana” symposium.
What Patients Want
A member of Sharecare Ghana, a patient advocacy group, Farida Bedwei, sharing her patient story encouraged healthcare professionals to make patients seeking care feel free and more relaxed to be able to give accurate feedback.
“If you have a welcoming demeanour, the patients do not feel intimidated to ask questions and talk about their symptoms” she said.
She argued that every case is different, and must be seen with excitement and reverence without tagging patients as “too known”.
Journalist and quality healthcare advocate, Hadiza Nuhu Billa, also advised health care institutions to be mindful of the news and testimonies health facilities makes of itself since that largely affect people’s choice for a health facility. She cited the need for a continuous patient and public engagement using clear and compassionate communication, through every available media platform.
Some facts about Patient safety
1. While in hospital, 1 in every 10 patients is harmed
Estimates show that in high income countries (HIC) as many as 1 in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. The harm can be caused by a range of incidents or adverse events, with nearly 50% of them being preventable. In a study on frequency and preventability of adverse events across 26 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), the rate of adverse events was around 8%, of which 83% could have been prevented and 30% led to death. Approximately two-thirds of all adverse events occur in LMICs.
2. Unsafe use of medication harms millions and costs billions of dollars annually
Unsafe medication practices and medication errors are a leading cause of avoidable harm in health care systems across the world. Globally, the cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at US$ 42 billion annually, not counting lost wages, productivity, or health care costs.