Our study aimed to explore to what extent the priority areas and domains of the World Health Organization (WHO)‘s third Global Patient Safety Challenge were being addressed in a sample of hospital organizations.
A qualitative approach was taken using a combination of focus groups, semistructured interviews, and documentary analysis in 4 UK teaching hospital organizations. A purposive sampling strategy was adopted with the aim of recruiting health care professionals who would be likely to have knowledge of medication safety interventions that were being carried out at the hospital organizations. Medication safety group meeting notes from 2017 to 2019 were reviewed at the hospital organizations to identify interventions recently implemented, those currently being implemented, and plans for the future. A content analysis was undertaken using the WHO’s third Global Patient Safety Challenge priority areas and domains as deductive themes.
All the domains and priority areas of the WHO Medication Safety Challenge were being addressed at all 4 sites. However, a greater number of interventions focused on “health care professionals” and “systems and practices of medication management” than on “patients and the public.” In terms of the priority areas, the main focus was on “high-risk situations,” particularly high-risk medicines, with fewer interventions in the areas of “transitions of care” and “polypharmacy.”
More work may be needed to address patient and public involvement in medication safety and the priority areas of transitions of care and polypharmacy. Comparative global studies would help build an international picture and allow shared learning.