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Patient Safety Essentials Toolkit

Download these nine essential tools to guide your organization in improving patient safety and delivering safe, reliable care. Tools include FMEA, SBAR, root cause analysis, daily huddles, and more.


  • 9 patient safety tools: Action Hierarchy (part of RCA2), Ask Me 3, Cause and Effect Diagram, Developing Reliable Processes, 5 Whys: Finding the Root Cause of a Problem, Flowchart, FMEA Tool, Huddles, SBAR Tool
  • Instructions, examples, and a template for each tool

IHI's Patient Safety Essentials Toolkit is a helpful companion for you and your organization on the journey to delivering safe, reliable care every time, for every patient.

Designed and tested by IHI’s world-renowned safety experts, the Toolkit includes documents on improving teamwork and communication, tools to help you understand the underlying issues that can cause errors, and valuable guidance about how to create and maintain reliable systems. Each of the nine tools includes a short description, instructions, an example, and a blank template. 

Inside the toolkit, you’ll find:

  • The SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) technique, which provides a framework for communication between members of the health care team about a patient's condition.
  • Action Hierarchy, a component of RCA2 that will assist teams in identifying which actions will have the strongest effect for successful and sustained system improvement.
  • A daily huddle agenda, which gives teams a way to proactively manage quality and safety.
  • Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA): Also used in Lean management and Six Sigma, FMEA is a systematic, proactive method for identifying potential risks and their impact.

Download the complete toolkit with all nine tools, or download individual tools as you need them to guide your safety work.

*NOTE: Before filling out the templates, first save the PDF files to your computer. Then open and use that version of the tool. Otherwise, your changes will not be saved.​

How to Cite This Document:
Patient Safety Essentials Toolkit. Boston: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2019. (Available at

IHI Patient Safety Essentials Toolkit Overview

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