Comparative Studies on Patient Safety Culture to Strengthen Health Systems Among Southeast Asian Countries

Front Public Health. 2021 Jan 12;8:600216. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.600216. eCollection 2020.


Patient safety is an important issue in health systems worldwide. A systematic review of previous studies on patient safety culture in Southeast Asian countries is necessary for South Korea's partnership with these countries, especially given South Korea's assistance in strengthening the health systems of these developing countries. Studies on patient safety culture in Southeast Asian countries, published in English and Thai languages, were retrieved from computerized databases using keywords through a manual search. Data extraction, quality assessment, and analyses were performed using several tools. The review included 21 studies conducted in Indonesia (n = 8), Thailand (n = 5), Malaysia (n = 3), Vietnam (n = 2), Singapore (n = 1), and the Philippines (n = 1). They were analyzed and categorized into 12 dimensions of safety culture, and differences in response rate or scores were identified compared to the mean of the dimensions. The heterogeneous of safety culture's situation among Southeast Asian countries, both in practice and in research, can be explained since patient safety policy and its application are not prioritized as much as they are in developed countries in the priority compared to the developed countries. However, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos are the priority countries for South Korea's official healthcare development assistance in the Southeast Asia region. Vietnam, for instance, is an economically transitioning country; therefore, consolidated patient safety improvement by inducing patient safety culture in the provincial and central health system as well as strengthening project formulation to contribute to health policy formation are needed for sustainable development of the partner countries' health systems. It is recommended that more evidence-based proactive project planning and implementation be conducted to integrate patient safety culture into the health systems of developing countries, toward health policy on patient safety and quality service for the attainment of sustainable development goals in South Korea's development cooperation.

Keywords: Southeast Asia; health system; outcome; patient safety; safety culture.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Cambodia
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Patient Safety*
  • Philippines
  • Safety Management*
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam