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This section of the Patient Safety and Incident Management Toolkit provides an integrated set of resources focused on actions that help anticipate, monitor, prevent and plan for expected and unexpected safety issues. It aims to help those responsible for patient safety recognize and reduce potential harm to patients/families and providers before incidents occur so care is safer today and in the future.

Below is a description of the components that are part of the patient safety management section which includes links to practical resources.

  • Patient safety culture. Culture refers to shared values (what is important) and beliefs (what is held to be true) that interact with a system’s structures and control mechanisms to produce behavioural norms.  Culture influences patient safety directly by determining accepted practices and indirectly by acting as a barrier or enabler to the adoption of behaviours that promote patient safety.  Understanding the components and influencers of culture and assessing it is essential to developing a strategy that creates a culture committed to providing the safest possible care for patients.
  • Before the incident. Patient safety and incident management plans and processes proactively developed and in place together with active monitoring, analyzing, prioritizing and implementing actions to mitigate risks and improve quality and safety contribute to effective response to both expected and unexpected safety issues.
  • Reporting systems (frequently referred to as reporting and learning systems) capture patient safety concerns, hazards and/or incidents meant to trigger action, facilitate communication, response, learning and improvement.  Establishing a reporting system and processes to support it, including identifying and spreading learning, is the foundation of patient safety and incident management and essential to advancing the patient safety culture.