|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 117-120
Integrating patient safety in the existing undergraduate medical curriculum
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2
1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||20-Jul-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||16-Sep-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||23-Aug-2022|
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The field of medicine has made significant advancements owing to multiple scientific innovations, and the outcome is quite evident in terms of improvement in the health outcomes. The aim of the current review is to understand the magnitude of the problem, scope of patient safety in undergraduate medical education, and components of the same. An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine and World Health Organization website. Overall, 20 articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. Keywords used in the search include patient safety and medical education in the title alone only. If we really aim to minimize the errors on our part and thereby improve the patient safety, the ideal approach will be to train the undergraduate medical students about different aspects of patient safety during their training period. We must understand that mere knowledge about patient safety (Knows level in Miller's Pyramid) will not serve the desired purpose. Rather, the better approach will be to target knows how and even does level in Miller's Pyramid, as ensuring patient safety is predominantly a skill. To conclude, patient safety curriculum is an important component of the medical undergraduate training. The need of the hour is to acknowledge the importance of patient safety, plan for its integration within the existing curriculum, and implement the same with the help of faculty members.
Keywords: Curriculum, patient safety, undergraduate medical education
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Integrating patient safety in the existing undergraduate medical curriculum. J Sci Soc 2022;49:117-20
| Introduction|| |
The field of medicine has made significant advancements owing to multiple scientific innovations, and the outcome is quite evident in terms of improvement in the health outcomes. However, at the same time, it is a proven fact that hospitalized patients are at risk for being exposed to medical errors. In fact, the incidence of adverse events due to unsafe care has been ranked as one of top 10 leading causes of death and disability across the globe. The need of the hour is that we have to accept that errors in health care is foreseeable, but it is essential that we learn from our earlier mistakes and not repeat them in the future., The aim of the current review is to understand the magnitude of the problem, scope of patient safety in undergraduate medical education, and components of the same.
| Methods|| |
An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out in the PubMed search engine and World Health Organization website. Relevant research articles focusing on patient safety in undergraduate medical education published in the period 2002–2021 were included in the review. A total of 22 studies similar to the current study objectives were identified initially, of which 2 were excluded due to the unavailability of the complete version of the articles. Overall, 20 articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. Keywords used in the search include patient safety and medical education in the title alone only (viz. patient safety [ti] AND medical education [ti]; patient safety [ti] AND undergraduate medical education [ti]). The articles published only in English language were included for the current review [Figure 1]. The collected information is presented under the following subheadings, namely magnitude of the problem, patient safety and undergraduate medical education, patient safety curriculum: current status in medical education, components of patient safety curriculum, additional considerations, potential barriers and recommendations, and implications for practice.
Magnitude of the problem
In low- and middle-income nations, it has been reported that on an annual basis close to 135 million adverse events are reported each year that accounts for more than 2.5 million deaths. On a surprising note, it has been identified that even in developed nations, 10% of the patients receiving hospital care are exposed to adverse events, of which 50% are totally preventable. These trends clearly suggest that a significant proportion of the financial load on patients and family members or work load on health-care workers and hospitals is because of the errors made in hospitals, most of which are preventable., These are quite alarming estimates considering that we have made significant gains in health care and thus calls for an urgent need to take active interventions to improve patient safety and well-being by creating a safer system of care.
Patient safety and undergraduate medical education
If we really aim to minimize the errors on our part and thereby improve the patient safety, the ideal approach will be to train the undergraduate medical students about different aspects of patient safety during their training period., The planned training should not only provide them information about what is patient safety and the magnitude of the same, but also give due exposure about the skills and behavior expected of a medical doctor to minimize the incidence of patient harm.,, The available evidence suggests that not many undergraduate students get adequate exposure to harm reduction approaches and thus it makes them not competent to ensure patient safety once they land in clinical practice.,,,,
Patient safety curriculum: Current status in medical education
Based on the available status, currently, it has been reported that either the patient safety topics are not covered at all (as it is still a new topic in many parts of the world) or even if they are covered, they are in bits and pieces., The coverage of topics on an irregular basis defeats the entire purpose and as a result the students fail to understand the importance of the topic. We must understand that if we are looking forward to short-term modifications, a lecture-based program might turn out to be adequate, but if our aim is to ensure inculcation of patient safety related practices in medical students, the teaching–learning and assessment has to happen depending on an explicitly designed formal curriculum.,,
The proposed curriculum should be gradually and progressively introduced without stretching the overall duration of the training period. It should support the medical colleges in implementing patient safety education and eventually prepare the medical students for safe clinical practice., The process of designing curriculum has to start with the formulation of learning outcomes, and this should be followed-up with curriculum mapping (viz. deciding about which learning objective will be covered when, using which teaching-learning method and how it will be assessed). As far as possible, efforts should be taken to integrate the patient safety material into the existing curriculum.,,
Components of patient safety curriculum
We must understand that mere knowledge about patient safety (Knows level in Miller's Pyramid) will not serve the desired purpose. Rather, the better approach will be to target knows how and even does level in Miller's Pyramid, as ensuring patient safety is predominantly a skill. Further, we should aim to give hands-on exposure to the medical students and supplement the same with constructive feedback from the teachers and appropriate guidance. The learning areas can range from explaining what is patient safety, its scope, the need, and the after effects that arise because of nonadherence to the harm reduction measures. The next area is to make the students comprehend about the role of human factors in ensuring patient safety and accordingly cover the domains of communication, teamwork, and the work culture in the hospital.,
As the undergraduate medical students are quite new to the working pattern of a health-care establishment, it is also ideal to expose them to the complexities of the same and the importance of adopting a system-based approach in ensuring patient safety., In addition, considering the fact that for obtaining positive patient outcomes, it is essential that a medical student not only learn the leader role, but even understand the importance of being an effective team worker and recognize its significance., Further, exposure should be given to realize that human errors are quite possible, but the best approach is to learn from these mistakes and then not repeat them in the future.,,,
Subsequently, students should be oriented about clinical risk management, wherein they are made to understand the presence of those factors which can augment the risk of patient harm and thus how best they can be controlled., Further, students should also be sensitized about quality improvement methods, and the ways in which the doctors should interact with patients and their caregivers, as they all play an important role in ensuring self-care., As nosocomial infections occupy an important place in the healthcare establishments, not exposing the students to infection control measures will make the curriculum incomplete. Finally, the medical students should be oriented about medication safety and the steps that should be taken to ensure patient safety, especially in invasive procedures.,,
Patient safety education can be made more meaningful by creating those scenarios which are relevant in the current clinical practice. It is obvious that students learn better in a safe and enabling atmosphere and thus we should encourage experiential learning. The teaching can be carried out using a wide range of methods (such as lectures, small group learning, case-based discussion, and simulation).,, The assessments can be carried in the form of both formative as well as summative assessments using both theory (viz. multiple-choice questions or logbook documentation) and practical (through a range of work place-based assessment tools or by using objective structured clinical examination) examinations. As always, there has to be a mechanism to evaluate the curriculum on patient safety, so that based on the received feedback, appropriate modifications can be made.,,
Potential barriers and recommendations
Though patient safety curriculum has been linked with multiple benefits, nevertheless for its successful implementation in all the medical colleges, we have to consider the potential barriers.,, These barriers include lack of faculty awareness, presence of an informal curriculum, and minimal participation from the teaching staff. The best strategy will be to carry out capacity building session and ensure that the faculty members own the entire curriculum and thus are motivated towards the entire curriculum planning and implementation process.,,
Implications for practice
The successful implementation of a patient safety curriculum has to start from its planning stage, wherein the learning objectives have to be defined, and here arises the role of the curriculum committee of the institution., It is important to note that special curriculum has been organized for participants to improve the patient safety and quality improvement. Further, as health care delivery essentially requires a team approach, exclusive steps have been taken to incorporate patient safety in the medical education. The Medical Education Unit of the medical college has an important role to play in terms of organization of the faculty development programs, so that all of them are sensitized about their roles, the teaching-learning experiences to be given to students and the mode of assessment. Finally, the medical students have to be also made a part of the entire process to maximize the overall benefits.
| Conclusion|| |
Patient safety curriculum is an important component of the medical undergraduate training. The need of the hour is to acknowledge the importance of patient safety, plan for its integration within the existing curriculum and implement the same with the help of faculty members.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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