New OECD report on patient safety

Bern, 17.9.2020 - There is no ideal patient safety governance model. The OECD report on this topic, which was commissioned by the FOPH, summarises best practice for improving patient safety. The federal government has already taken action.

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The OECD report ‘System Governance Towards Improved Patient Safety’ compares different models for improving patient safety in the health systems of various OECD countries. It highlights the measures that can be used to better enshrine the aspect of patient safety in health systems. The report, which was funded by the FOPH, was drawn up for the 5th Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety that was due to take place in Montreux on 27-28 February 2020, but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OECD report notes that there is no ideal patient safety governance model. It concludes that safety standards are most effective if they comprise all areas of a health system. At the moment, quality assurance instruments – such as safety standards, reporting systems and regular staff training – are often only implemented in hospital settings. They should, however, also be deployed in primary care and long-term care settings. The basis of safety governance measures should be what is best for the patient.

In high-income countries, including Switzerland, almost 10% of patients admitted to hospital will experience an adverse event. These include suffering complications during an operation, being given the wrong medication or acquiring an infection. Half of these cases are thought to be preventable.

New committee and legal amendment

The federal government has already taken important steps in the past towards consistent health governance. The amendment of the Federal Health Insurance Act to improve quality and cost effectiveness should also contribute to these efforts. The newly-formed Federal Quality Commission will be launched in 2021. It will assist the Federal Council with quality development matters and support other actors in this area. In addition, the associations of healthcare providers and insurers will in future sign quality agreements. The Federal Council will set the quality development targets every four years.

Further information

Quality in Swiss Healthcare

Despite the good standard of health care in Switzerland, there is room for improvement in terms of quality.

Last modification 17.09.2020

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