Finding the patient in patient safety

American Medical Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine, 2013, 0, 17 (6), pp. 567 - 583
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In the last decade, the field of patient safety has grappled with the complexity of health-care systems by attending to the activity of frontline clinicians. This article extends the field by highlighting the activity of patients and their carers in determining the safety of these systems. We draw on data from three studies exploring patients accounts of their health-care experiences in Australia and internationally, to show how patients and carers are currently contributing to the safety of their own care. Furthermore, we emphasise the importance of patientclinician collaboration in ensuring the success of these activities. We argue that it is no longer sufficient to discuss if patients should be involved with ensuring their own safety. Given that patients are already involved, we propose a new conceptualisation of safety and systems that acknowledges their involvement and supports patientprovider collaboration to achieve safer care.
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