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What’s New in the Patient Safety World

October 2020

IHI’s National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety



In September, IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) released “Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety”. This report was the culmination of collaboration among 27 national organizations committed to advancing patient safety, with input from all relevant stakeholder groups, including patient and family advocates.


The National Action Plan has 17 recommendations to advance patient safety in 4 categories:


Culture, Leadership, and Governance


1.     Ensure safety is a demonstrated core value.

2.     Assess capabilities and commit resources to advance safety.

3.     Widely share information about safety to promote transparency.

4.     Implement competency-based governance and leadership.

Patient and Family Engagement

5.     Establish competencies for all health care professionals for the engagement of patients, families, and care partners.

6.     Engage patients, families, and care partners in the co-production of care.

7.     Include patients, families, and care partners in leadership, governance, and safety and improvement efforts.

8.     Ensure equitable engagement for all patients, families, and care partners.

9.     Promote a culture of trust and respect for patients, families, and care partners.

Workforce Safety


10.  Implement a systems approach to workforce safety.

11.  Assume accountability for physical and psychological safety and a healthy work environment that fosters the joy of the health care workforce.

12.  Develop, resource, and execute on priority programs that equitably foster workforce safety.

Learning System


13.  Facilitate both intra- and inter-organizational learning.

14.  Accelerate the development of the best possible safety learning networks.

15.  Initiate and develop systems to facilitate interprofessional education and training on safety.

16.  Develop shared goals for safety across the continuum of care.

17.  Expedite industry-wide coordination, collaboration, and cooperation on safety.


From the IHI site you can download the plan plus an implementation resource guide and a self-assessment tool.


The focus on workforce safety is timely, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and addresses not only the physical well-being of our healthcare workers but also the psychological and emotional health issues, including burnout.


And, of course, it also emphasizes a need we have long advocated: the need to share lessons learned on a much wider scale.






IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement). National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety. IHI 2020






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