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Patient Safety (2)

4 March, 2019

Hi Neil,

Thanks for sharing this.

If we follow the principle of 'first, do no harm', we have to conclude that the safest way of delivering healthcare is to avoid intervention unless there is clear evidence of benefit. This is much more difficult than such simple words suggest, since we have a strong psychological bias towards doing anything to try to fix a problem, rather than doing nothing because we don't have anything that will help.

In a similar vein, I think empowering patients is as important as empowering health professionals if we want safe care. Patients who understand why they're in hospital, who is looking after them and what the treatment plan is can find it easier to speak up when they don't want a potentially risky intervention, if they start to feel worse, or when they hear about a medication they're allergic to being written up, as just a few examples. Care done to people can't be as safe as care done with people.

I'd be interested to hear about any research going on in the HIFA network on this topic.




Dr David Neal

(+44) (0)7905 743 305


HIFA profile: David Neal is Founder of Vesalian, United Kingdom. He is a doctor, with a degree in behavioural science with anthropology. He is also working on ways to support shared, data-driven decision-making in healthcare, by making the best information, the easiest information for patients and professionals to access, understand and remember. Email address: david AT vesalian.com