Quality problem: Recent evidence in the level of patient safety from hospitals in six developing countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has demonstrated the high prevalence of adverse events, the excessive rate of death and permanent disability and their high preventability. The Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Initiative (PSFHI) has been launched to respond to these challenges.
Initial assessment: The principal approach of the PSFHI has been to develop an assessment manual that has 140 patient safety standards across five domains--leadership and management, patients and public involvement, safe evidence-based clinical practices, safe environment and lifelong learning.
Choice of solution and implementation: Ministries of health of seven countries--Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen were asked to nominate one hospital for assessment and then follow-up with an improvement plan.
Evaluation: The standards are divided into critical (20), core (90) and developmental (30). The range of critical standards, the compulsory standards with which a hospital has to comply, achieved by participating hospitals was 8-78%. Overall, in the domain of leadership and management the highest compliance was 47%, for patients and public involvement 25%, for safe evidence-based clinical practice 53%, for safe environment 64% and for lifelong learning 27%.
Lessons learned: This is the first systematic multi-country initiative in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, which provides compelling evidence that assessment of patient safety standards is feasible and applicable in resource-poor settings and there are significant opportunities for improving the level of patient safety in these hospitals.