Are the World Health Organization's Patient Safety Learning Objectives Still Up-to-Date: A Group Concept Mapping Study

J Patient Saf. 2022 Dec 1;18(8):731-737. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000993. Epub 2022 Feb 18.


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) Patient Safety Curriculum Guide defines learning objectives for patient safety. Current implementation in healthcare education is insufficient. Possible explanations may be obsolescence and/or a shift in needs. We investigated whether overarching topics and specific learning objectives of the WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide are still up-to-date, their attributed importance, and their perceived difficulty to achieve.

Methods: Experts on patient safety and medical education from 3 European countries were asked to suggest learning objectives concerning patient safety using group concept mapping. Following 3 successive steps, experts rated ideas by importance and difficulty to achieve. Correlation analyses investigated the relationship between those. Overarching topics of the learning goals (clusters) were identified with multivariate analysis.

Results: A total of 119 statements about intended learning objectives on patient safety were generated, of which 86 remained for sorting and rating. Based on multivariate analyses, 10 overarching topics (clusters) emerged. Both the learning objectives and the overarching topics showed high correspondence with the WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide. Strong correlations emerged between importance and difficulty ratings for learning objectives and overarching topics.

Conclusions: The WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide's learning goals are still relevant and up-to-date. Remarkably, learning objectives categorized as highly important are also perceived as difficult to achieve. In summary, the insufficient implementation in medical curricula cannot be attributed to the content of the learning goals. The future focus should be on how the WHO learning goals can be implemented in existing curricular courses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Patient Safety*
  • World Health Organization