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Expanding the scope of patient safety initiatives to include a bigger involvement in primary care is not only better for patients, it could be better for the bottom line of health services.

Carson StevensThat’s the message from Professor Andrew Carson-Stevens, the patient safety research lead with the Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research. VMIA hosted Prof Carson-Stevens for a presentation to a range of primary and community care representatives from across the state last month.

“My research group has undertaken an analysis of patient safety incident reports from the National Reporting and Learning System in England and Wales,” he said.

After analysing more than 30,000 reports from the primary care sector – those healthcare services that are performed outside a hospital setting – Prof Carson-Stevens and his team were able to identify a number of opportunities to improve patient care.

Prof Carson-Stevens highlighted an initiative introduced to one UK primary health setting to assist with the ongoing management of patients taking the drug Warfarin. Possible improvements to the process were identified through analysis of the GPs’ incident reports, but these were only implemented after roundtable development with hospital leaders, pharmacists, clinical governance experts and the general practitioners network. Through strengthening the management process, improving patient care and reducing the need for repeat admissions or follow ups, the health system estimated its savings at $1 million annually.

“That example showed you can bring a group of healthcare professionals in primary healthcare and you can have a conversation about possible improvements,” Prof Carson-Stevens said.

“There is a big opportunity here.”

To hear more from Prof Carson-Stevens about the opportunities available in primary care, please watch the video below.