What is Patient Safety?

According to the World Health Organization, patient safety is defined as “the prevention of errors and adverse effects to patients associated with health care.” With the advancement of science, there are new medicines, instruments, techniques, technologies and treatments. Health care has become more effective yet more complex. Unwanted and unexpected incidents can- and do – happen anywhere, causing loss, pain and suffering for patients and their families. Patient safety is an important aspect of quality health care.

Who is a Patient Safety Officer?

This is any individual who works in a healthcare facility to make sure that patients are receiving quality care. They manage a liaison between the staff and the patient, ensuring that the primary concern is patient safety. They monitor services, checking that they are safely administered.

Job Description

The duties of a patient safety officer entail addressing the staff about current issues, assessing staff performance, and setting criteria for concerns and complaints. They are responsible for creating policies to guarantee that patients are acquiring proper treatment without unnecessary complications. These policies are continually evaluated and revised.

The patient safety officer is responsible for observing the facility’s patient care record. If there is an area where mistakes are occurring on a regular basis, factors contributing to the incident must be identified. Once the cause has been pinpointed, the issue is addressed with staff members. Policies, strategies and training programs are developed and applied.

Prerequisite Education

If you are interested in pursuing a career in patient safety, you must have a Bachelor’s degree. Candidates with a background in nursing, public health administration or public health management are preferred. Each institution has its own minimum requirement. Research the acceptable criteria in your area. Some require applicants to be qualified as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM). Others have a prerequisite of a diploma in National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) training.

Required Skills

As with any career, experience holds a weight of its own. With patient safety, you must have expertise in the skills of data collection and analytical deduction. You must be able to effectively evaluate information that has been collected from the workplace and identify the areas which need improvement. Therefore, a basic knowledge of computer skills is mandatory. You must be able to use analytical software to generate reports from the data. Any individual that has excellent communication and leadership skills is considered an asset and will be given preference. The job of a patient safety officer is all about teamwork and management. So you must possess the expertise of making informed and accurate decisions alongside an aptitude for solving problems. You must be able to implement techniques that will vastly improve healthcare services and rectify mistakes if any.

Career Outlook

There has been a steady rise in the demand for patient safety officers. The Patient Safety Course Certification is recognized by Health Authority Abu Dhabi(HAAD), Dubai Health Authority(DHA) and Ministry of Health (MOH). Aspiring candidates can also pursue careers in similar categories of healthcare administration, such as those available at nursing homes, private clinics, doctor’s offices, medical centers, and hospitals.