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Principles for Improving Patient Safety Measurement​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Patient Safety Awareness Week​ is an annual recognition event, run by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), to promote learning more about health care safety. During this week, IHI seeks to advance important discussions locally and globally, and inspire action to improve th​e safety of the health care system for patients and the workforce. IHI encourages greater consideration about the need to improve patient safety measurement.

Existing methods for measurement of patient safety have faced certain limitations. In September 2019, health leaders from across the world met in Salzburg, Austria, at the request of theSalzburg Global Seminar and IHI to explore ways of improving the measurement of patient safety. The 2019 Salzburg Seminar sought to create more effective data collection, management, and analysis approaches. The work prompted the design of new principles for measuring patient safety.

Held during Patient Safety Awareness Week, this Virtual Learning Hour provides an overview of the challenges of patient safety measurement as well as a summary of the work done at the 2019 Salzburg Seminar and the Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety.

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By the end of this Virtual​ Learning Hour​ you’ll be able to:

  • Outline the challenges facing measurement in patient safety.

  • Explain the importance and impact of more effective measurement of patient safety.

  • Describe the eight Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety​​


Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCPDonald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, is the President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an organization that he cofounded and led for more than 20 years. In July 2010, President Obama appointed Dr. Berwick to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a position he held until December 2011. A pediatrician by background, Dr. Berwick has served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, and on the staffs of Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  He has also served as Vice Chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force, the first "Independent Member" of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees, and Chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He served two terms on the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) governing Council, was a member of the IOM's Global Health Board, and served on President Clinton's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. Recognized as a leading authority on health care quality and improvement, Dr. Berwick has received numerous awards for his contributions. In 2005, he was appointed "Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire" by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his work with the British National Health Service. Dr. Berwick is the author or co-author of over 160 scientific articles and six books. He also serves as Lecturer in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, and he's an elected member of the American Philosophical Society.


​​Helen Haskell headshot 6.jpgHelen Haskell is the President of Mothers Against Medical Error and Consumers Advancing Patient Safety. Since the medical error death of her young son Lewis in 2000, Helen Haskell has worked to improve healthcare safety and quality. In her home state of South Carolina, Helen was the architect of the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Act, which for the first time, required that healthcare providers be clearly identified and that patients be provided with an emergency response system in hospitals. Helen was closely involved in the passage and implementation of the South Carolina Hospital Infection Disclosure Act and served for many years on its advisory committee. In 2007 a state-sponsored Chair of Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety was endowed in the name of her son Lewis and in 2008 the South Carolina Patient Safety Symposium instituted the annual Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Champion Awards. Helen is also the Co-Chair of the WHO Patients for Patient Safety Advisory Group and the Co-Chair of Salzburg Global Seminar: Moving Measurement into Action: Designing Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety. Helen serves as the Chair of the Patient Engagement Committee of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and a member of the steering committee of Consumers United for Evidence-Based Medicine, the consumer arm of the US Cochrane Collaboration. She also serves on numerous other boards and committees including the boards of directors of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the Board of Advisors of the International Society for Rapid Response Systems.

Niek Klazinga photo 5.pngNiek Klazinga, MD, PhD, is the Strategic Lead of the Health Care Quality and Outcomes Programme at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris and convener of its Working Party on Health Care Quality and Outcomes. Dr. Klazinga combines this work with a professorship in Social Medicine at the Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam. Dr Klazinga is also the Co-Chair of the Salzburg Global Seminar: Moving Measurement into Action: Designing Global Principles for Measuring Patient Safety. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Klazinga has been involved in numerous health services research projects and policy debates on quality of care and patient safety. His present commitments include a visiting professorship at the Corvinus University in Budapest and the University of Toronto, advisor to WHO, and member of the Quality Council of the National Health Care Institute in The Netherland. Dr. Klazinga has published more than 230 papers in peer-reviewed journals to date and supervised 36 PhD students.


Madge Kaplan Madge Kaplan, IHI’s Director of Communications, is responsible for developing new and innovative means for IHI to communicate the stories, leading examples of change, and policy implications emerging from the world of quality improvement ― both in the US and internationally. Prior to joining IHI in July 2004, Ms. Kaplan spent 20 years as a broadcast journalist for public radio – most recently working as a health correspondent for National Public Radio. Ms. Kaplan was the creator and Senior Editor of Marketplace Radio's Health Desk at WGBH in Boston, MA, and was a 1989/99 Kaiser Media Fellow in Health. She has produced numerous documentaries, and her reporting has been recognized by American Women in Radio and Television, Pew Charitable Trusts, American Academy of Nursing and Massachusetts Broadcasters Association.