World Alliance for Patient Safety

World Alliance for Patient Safety – Action Areas

Please visit WHO website for more details and resources available on

ACTION AREA – 01 The Global Patient Safety Challenges aim to identify a topic that covers a major and significant aspect of risk to patients receiving health care and which is relevant to every WHO Member State. At present we have three such Challenges:

  • Clean Care is Safer Care
    Health care-associated infection was chosen as the first Global Patient Safety Challenge, focusing on the Clean Care is Safer Care theme. As part of this Challenge, we have developed an Advanced Draft of the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care.

  • Safe Surgery Saves Lives
    Safer surgery was chosen as the second Global Patient Safety Challenge, with the theme Safe Surgery Saves Lives. The focus of the campaign is the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist. The checklist identifies three phases of an operation, each corresponding to a specific period in the normal flow of work: Before the induction of anesthesia (“sign in”), before the incision of the skin (“time out”) and before the patient leaves the operating room (“sign out”). In each phase, a checklist coordinator must confirm that the surgery team has completed the listed tasks before it proceeds with the operation.

  • Tackling antimicrobial resistance
    Work on the third Global Patient Safety Challenge, ‘Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance’, will commence in 2009 and the Challenge will be launched in 2010.

ACTION AREA – 02 Patients for Patient Safety

In the area of patient and consumer involvement, Patients for Patient Safety is building a patient-led, global network of patients and patient organizations to champion patient safety.

ACTION AREA – 03 Research for Patient Safety

Research for Patient Safety undertakes global prevalence studies of adverse effects and is developing a rapid assessment tool for use in developing countries. The Alliance is undertaking a major research project to understand the nature of patient harm in ten developing countries and those with economies in transition, and to develop measurement tools for use by WHO Member States. The Small Grants for Patient Safety Research was launched in June 2008 aiming to build capacity in this area.Small Research Grants available.
Please visit for details and how to apply.

ACTION AREA – 04 Taxonomy – International Patient Safety Classification

The International Patient Safety Classification aims to define, harmonize and group patient safety concepts into an internationally agreed classification. This will help elicit, capture and analyze factors relevant to patient safety in a manner conducive to learning and system improvement.

ACTION AREA – 05 Reporting and Learning

Reporting and Learning aims to generate best practice guidelines for existing and new reporting systems, and facilitate early learning from information available. WHO has drafted Guidelines on Adverse Event Reporting and Learning Systems, which are the subject of a consultation exercise during 2007-8.

ACTION AREA – 06 Solutions for Patient Safety

Solutions for Patient Safety are interventions and actions that prevent patient safety problems recurring and thus reduce risk to patients. The World Alliance for Patient Safety and the WHO Collaborating Center on Patient Safety (Solutions) is promoting existing interventions and coordinating activity internationally to ensure that new solutions are delivered.

ACTION AREA – 07 High 5s

The High 5s initiative will spread best practice for change in organizational, team and clinical practices to improve patient safety.The standardized operating protocols (SOPs) to tackle five widespread patient safety problems in the participating countries are:

  • Managing concentrated indictable;
  • Assuring medication accuracy at transitions of care;
  • Performance of the correct procedure at the correct body site;
  • Communication during patient care handovers;
  • Improved hand hygiene to prevent health care-associated infections.

ACTION AREA – 08 Technology for Patient Safety

Technology for Patient Safety will focus on the opportunities to harness new technologies to improve patient safety.

ACTION AREA – 09 Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management will work with Member States and partners to gather and share knowledge on patient safety developments globally.

ACTION AREA – 10 Eliminating central line-associated bloodstream infections

The Alliance will ensure that the results of the work in the State of Michigan, USA, to eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections is replicated in other settings, this could change the lives of tens of thousands of patients worldwide, especially on intensive care patients.

ACTION AREA – 11 Education for Safer Care

Education for Safer Care will develop a curricular guide for medical students as well as implementing a Patient Safety Scholars programme.

ACTION AREA – 12 Safety Prize

The Safety Prize will be an international award for excellence in the field of patient safety that will act as a driver for change.


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