World Patient Safety Day 2023 is dedicated to the theme “Engaging patients for patient safety” and the slogan “Elevate the voice of patients!”. The day aims to influence stakeholders including patients, families, policy makers, health care leaders, health workers and patient organizations to work collaboratively towards co-designing health care policies and safety interventions that truly reflect the needs and preferences of patients, ultimately enhancing healthcare safety globally. Patient safety is a critical aspect of healthcare delivery, and it encompasses various strategies and practices aimed at minimizing harm and ensuring the well-being of patients.
While healthcare professionals play a significant role in providing safe care, engaging patients actively in their own safety is equally crucial. In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the need to involve patients in their care, leading to the emergence of the concept of “engaging patients for patient safety.”
Engaging patients for patient safety refers to actively involving patients in decisions about their healthcare, empowering them to become partners in their own safety journey. It goes beyond simply providing information to patients and instead focuses on fostering collaborative relationships between healthcare providers and patients. This approach recognizes that patients possess unique insights into their own condition and experiences, which can contribute to identifying and mitigating potential risks.
Research studies have highlighted the benefits of engaging patients for patient safety. A qualitative study conducted on healthcare recipients’ perspectives 1 found that involving patients in their care led to increased awareness of potential risks, improved communication between patients and healthcare providers, and enhanced patient satisfaction. Patients who actively participated in their safety reported feeling more empowered and better equipped to navigate their healthcare journey.
One of the key elements of engaging patients for patient safety is the promotion of shared decision-making. Shared decision-making involves healthcare providers and patients collaborating to make informed decisions about treatment options, considering the patient’s values, preferences, and goals. This approach allows patients to actively participate in their care, leading to better outcomes and increased patient satisfaction 2 .
Furthermore, patient engagement can be facilitated through effective communication strategies. Enhancing communication between patients and healthcare providers establishes a foundation of trust and ensures that patients are well-informed about their condition, treatment options, and potential risks. This can be achieved through clear and understandable explanations, active listening, and encouraging patients to ask questions and express their concerns 3.