• (000) 123 458 789
  • office@worldpatientsalliance.org
Home Events Webinar: Patient Engagement in Patient Safety Around the World

Webinar: Patient Engagement in Patient Safety Around the World

Webinar: Patient Engagement in Patient Safety Around the World

World Patient Safety Day 2023 was observed on 17 September under the theme “Engaging patients for patient safety", in recognition of the crucial role patients, families and caregivers play in the safety of healthcare. Evidence shows that when patients are treated as partners in their care, significant gains are made in safety, patient satisfaction and health outcomes. By becoming active members of the healthcare team, patients can contribute to the safety of their care and that of the healthcare system as a whole.

Patient engagement empowers individuals to actively participate in their own healthcare decisions, promoting better understanding of medical procedures, treatment plans, and potential risks. By involving patients in safety initiatives, healthcare systems can tap into valuable insights, identify potential pitfalls, and tailor interventions to meet individual needs. As patients become informed partners in their care, the result is a more vigilant and responsive healthcare environment that prioritizes prevention, communication, and continuous improvement. World Patient Safety Day serves as a reminder that patient safety is a shared responsibility, highlighting the profound impact of patient engagement in forging a safer and more compassionate healthcare landscape worldwide.

WPA organized a Webinar: Patient Engagement in Patient Safety Around the World on 20 September 2023, which was joined by internationally acknowledged patient advocacy champions and healthcare experts who shared their perspectives with a keen audience.

Global Prospective on Patient Engagement in Patient Safety
Neelam Dhingra | Unit Head, Patient Safety Flagship, WHO

Dr. Neelam Dhingra opened the webinar with an insightful presentation highlighting key aspects of patient engagement and its role in improving patient safety. The presentation covered various topics, including a global overview of patient engagement, the significance of World Patient Safety Day (WPSD), WHO’s new theme for WPSD 2023, and the evolution of patient safety initiatives.

One of the central themes emphasized by Dr. Dhingra was the importance of involving family and caregivers in patient safety. She stressed that these individuals play crucial roles and should be treated as partners in healthcare, being informed and actively engaged in the care process. This approach aligns with the principles of patient-centered care, where healthcare is designed in collaboration with patients and their families. Dhingra reiterated the “First, do no harm" principle in healthcare, acknowledging that despite this ethical foundation, millions of patients still suffer harm and lose their lives due to unsafe care across various healthcare settings. She highlighted the need for safe healthcare as a fundamental right for every patient and emphasized that much of the harm is preventable through simple yet effective strategies. A key strategy discussed in the presentation was the active engagement of patients and their families. Shifting from care designed for patients to care designed with patients is a transformative approach that can save lives and millions of dollars. Dhingra cited evidence indicating that meaningful patient engagement can reduce the burden of harm by up to 15%.

The presentation touched upon the WHO resolution in 2019 that led to the establishment of World Patient Safety Day and called upon member states to prioritize patient safety. The resolution also mandated the development of the Patient Safety Global Action Plan, a 10-year roadmap with the objective of achieving zero harm in healthcare. Patient and family engagement was identified as an essential component of this plan, acknowledging that this aspect had previously been the weakest link in patient safety.

Dhingra urged all stakeholders to actively engage patients and their families across all healthcare settings as a means of mitigating harm. This call to action aligns with the broader global effort to improve patient safety and underscores the vital role of patient engagement in achieving this goal.

In conclusion, Neelam Dhingra’s presentation highlighted the critical role of patient and family engagement in improving patient safety. It underscored the need for a collaborative approach in healthcare, where patients and their families are actively involved in decision-making and care design. The presentation served as a call to action for all healthcare stakeholders to prioritize patient engagement as a means of reducing harm and enhancing patient safety.

Engaging Older People in Their Treatment in Poland
Jolanta Bilinska | Patient Safety Foundation, Poland

Jolanta Bilinska’s presentation focused on the importance of engaging senior citizens in their healthcare and treatment in Poland. She began by addressing the definition of a “senior" and noted that the age at which key changes occur in the body can vary among individuals and countries. In some contexts, individuals over 60 are considered seniors. Jolanta also mentioned the age brackets defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to categorize senior persons or those in old age. She then provided statistics related to seniors in Poland, highlighting that the average life expectancy in the country is 74 years for men and 83 years for women. According to data from the Central Statistical Office, as of 2022, there were approximately 9.7 million people aged over 60 in Poland.

The presentation delved into the main challenges faced by seniors in Poland, including economic difficulties, housing issues, and limited access to healthcare, characterized by long waiting times for specialist doctors and insufficient communication with medical staff. Common health issues among seniors include comorbidities such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, musculoskeletal disorders, memory problems, hearing and vision impairments, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Jolanta discussed various attitudes of seniors, as outlined by C.S. Ford. These attitudes range from regression (relying on help unnecessarily) and escape (changing residence to alleviate difficulties) to voluntary isolation and active integration into social life. She emphasized that seniors have ample free time after retirement and can benefit from engaging in activities like yoga, tai chi, Nordic walking, and Pilates. Additionally, Poland offers universities for seniors and classes in cultural centers and health clinics.

A significant concern raised in the presentation was the overuse of medications among older adults. Bilinska highlighted the issue of seniors taking multiple medications, often prescribed by different specialists, along with supplements. She noted that some seniors took up to 30 tablets a day, leading to potential risks and complications. Medication reconciliation, the process of ensuring accurate and consistent medication information during care transitions, was discussed as a vital practice to prevent errors. Jolanta emphasized that involving patients in the medication reconciliation process is crucial, and educational materials and communication tools, such as posters and brochures, can help raise awareness. She concluded by highlighting the importance of effective communication between healthcare providers and patients, as it plays a significant role in building trust and engaging patients in their treatment.

In summary, Jolanta Bilinska’s presentation underscored the need for comprehensive care for seniors in Poland, addressing their unique challenges, encouraging active lifestyles, and promoting safe medication practices. Effective communication and patient engagement were identified as key factors in improving senior healthcare outcomes.

Patient Engagement in Hospitals in Egypt
Nagwa Metwally | Patients for Patient Safety Champion, Egypt

Nagwa Metwally delivered a presentation on the subject of patient engagement in hospitals in Egypt, shedding light on several crucial concepts and topics. Her presentation primarily focused on the challenges and initiatives related to patient engagement in the healthcare system of Egypt.

Metwally began by addressing the significant barriers and difficulties encountered in promoting patient engagement in healthcare, particularly in government hospitals within Egypt. She highlighted the poor standards of healthcare in the country and the shortcomings in healthcare education provided to students and caregivers as fundamental obstacles. Notably, she shared an anecdote about a confrontational encounter with a disgruntled professor during discussions with healthcare experts, underscoring the resistance and arrogance of some professionals as major barriers to driving patient engagement efforts in Egypt.

Another substantial challenge highlighted by Metwally was the excessive workload faced by healthcare experts, which left them with little time or motivation to engage with patients or their families effectively. To address these issues, she embarked on a mission to engage the Ministry of Health in Egypt and convinced them to lead patient engagement initiatives within the country’s healthcare system.

Metwally referenced a crucial milestone, the 25th meeting between the Ministry of Health in Egypt, the WHO Office, and the National Unit of Accreditation. During this meeting, the Ministry of Health pledged to implement various patient engagement initiatives and establish a workplan to ensure safe treatment without errors.

Furthermore, Metwally shared her ambitious goal for the current year, which involves persuading the Ministry of Health to involve a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in every hospital nationwide. This approach aims to enhance monitoring, gather feedback, and construct narratives surrounding patient engagement, ultimately contributing to better healthcare outcomes.

In summary, Nagwa Metwally’s presentation emphasized the critical need for patient engagement in Egyptian healthcare, despite numerous challenges stemming from the state of the healthcare industry and education. Her efforts to involve the Ministry of Health and her future plans to collaborate with NGOs illustrate her commitment to improving patient engagement and safety within the country’s healthcare system.

Australia: Patient Engagement as Consumer Action
Carol Bennett | Australian consumer advocate, Australia

Carol Bennett, representing Australian consumer advocates, delivered a presentation that provided an Australian perspective on patient engagement in patient safety. Her presentation encompassed key values, collaboration between patients and healthcare providers, and the role of patient groups in driving healthcare system change in Australia.
Bennett’s presentation began by emphasizing the importance of the values enacted in healthcare. She highlighted several essential values, including patient knowledge, experience, and involvement in their own health, the development of an integrated healthcare system that values the patient experience, prevention, early intervention, and a focus on health rather than just treating sickness. Bennett stressed the need for collaborative, integrated, flexible, and responsive healthcare and advocated for working in partnership to improve health, along with active advocacy for real health reform.

In the context of patients and healthcare providers, Bennett pointed out the shared fundamental values between these two groups. Both patients and healthcare providers have a common agenda for reform, which centers on better measurement and engagement to improve healthcare outcomes. She underscored the necessity of making health systems accountable for achieving real health outcomes for consumers and communities, rather than solely focusing on service provision. Achieving this requires systemic changes in the approach to healthcare, which Bennett emphasized should be a collaborative effort.

Bennett then discussed the role of patient groups in driving health system change in Australia. She highlighted the close collaboration between patient groups and health provider groups to achieve meaningful reform. This collaboration is often reflected in decision-making structures related to health policy. As an example, Bennett mentioned her involvement in a government-funded medicines review advisory committee as a patient representative, emphasizing the importance of including patient perspectives in decision-making processes.

In conclusion, Bennett’s presentation emphasized that patient experience should serve as the touchstone for health system performance. By prioritizing patient experience and engagement, the healthcare system can be enhanced, leading to improved outcomes for patients. Her insights showcased the importance of collaboration and partnership between patients, healthcare providers, and various stakeholders in driving positive changes in healthcare systems.

Australia: Patient Engagement as Consumer Action
Stephanie Newell | Australian consumer advocate, Australia

Stephanie Newell’s presentation highlighted the successful example of patient engagement in patient safety in Australia, specifically focusing on the Perth Declaration for Patient Safety. Her presentation began by referencing a pivotal event, the WHO Perth Workshop on Patient Safety in 2009, where various stakeholders from across Australia, particularly Western Australia, came together. These stakeholders included policymakers, healthcare consumers, and health professionals who engaged in productive discussions without judgment.

Newell noted that the timing and environment were conducive to fostering patient engagement and safety during this workshop. The outcome of this collaborative effort was the Perth Declaration for Patient Safety, a significant document that became an integral part of the Australian healthcare apparatus. The event received funding from multiple sources and garnered attention and support from relevant quarters.

One notable achievement stemming from the Perth Declaration was its recognition by the Western Australian Parliament. Additionally, the Australian government took proactive steps in 2011 by establishing the Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Healthcare. This demonstrated a commitment to patient safety and engagement at the national level. Furthermore, Newell highlighted how the Perth Declaration found mention in editorials of prominent medical journals in Australia, indicating its influence and importance in the healthcare community. In 2013, the Commission successfully developed and implemented national safety and quality health service standards across the country, further solidifying the impact of patient engagement in patient safety.

In summary, Stephanie Newell’s presentation showcased the Australian example as a testament to the realization and success of patient engagement in patient safety. The Perth Declaration for Patient Safety served as a catalyst for positive change and contributed to the establishment of national standards and a renewed commitment to patient safety at both the state and national levels in Australia.



Dr Neelam Dhingra
Dr Neelam Dhingra is the Unit Head of the Patient Safety Flagship - A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030 at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. In this role, Dr DHINGRA leads WHO’s global efforts in providing strategic leadership on patient safety within the context of UHC. This includes implementation of 2019 WHA resolution ‘Global Action on Patient Safety’, World Patient Safety Day, 2021 WHA approved ‘Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030’, Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm; Global Patient Safety Network; Leadership and Safety Culture; Patients for Patient Safety; Education and Training; and Reporting and Learning. Dr DHINGRA led the WHO Blood Safety unit after joining WHO HQ/Geneva in 2000 till 2014. Since 2015, Dr DHINGRA is coordinating WHO global efforts in the areas of patient safety and risk management. Prior to joining WHO, Dr DHINGRA served as a faculty in tertiary university hospital in New Delhi, India for 14 years, also coordinating transfusion services, after medical and specialist qualifications from New Delhi and UK fellowships.
Jolanta Bilińska
Jolanta Bilińska –Director of Development and Social Communication at City Medical Centre dr. K. Jonscher in Lodz, lecturer at High School for Nurses in Kalisz, before at National Health Fund- Lodz, Head of the Department of International Cooperation. Jolanta Bilińska has M.A. in Clinical Psychology. She used to diagnose hospitalised children and teenagers with personal disorders. In early 90”s she started working for regional newspaper – DziennikŁódzki. She published almost 2000 articles concerning medical issues and politics. She was mostly interested in matters relating to patients’ rights and the way they are observed in health care system. She also raised patients’ awareness of the health care system. Since the year 2004 she has performed the function of coordinator concerning European Union in National Health FundinŁódź. Since 2005 she has been the champion leader in World Alliance for Patient Safety. In 2006 she established Patient Safety Foundation. Its main aim is to promote safety measures in health service as well as to involve patients in the process of treatment, The foundation cooperates with the Ministry of Health, WHO officer and another non-governmental organization which are regarding patients’ matters. She is an expert in Public Health from 2009,she was also a IAPO chair of the board from 2015– 2018 (International Alliance of Patients Organizations).
Nagwa Metwally is a seasoned health professional with decades of experience in the public health sphere on both national and international levels. She was a founding partner of the Patient Safety Alliance in Egypt in 2005 and has been a WHO patient safety champion since the same year. She has a long history of active leadership in women’s organizations and was an elected president of African Women in the United Nations. She is a former member of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Red Crescent and was Chairman of the Red Crescent Committee in Ain Shams hospitals tasked with overseeing and improving the quality of medical services across the facilities. She is currently the Red Crescent representative to the Economic, Social & Cultural Council of the African Union. She is a member of the WHO Patients for Patient Safety Advisory Group and serves on the steering committee for preparation for the 2023 World Patient Safety Day. She holds a BA in Journalism from Cairo University and a MA in Mass Communication from the International Institute of Journalism India.
Over the last two decades, Carol has worked at senior executive levels in national health and aged care organizations and has served on national and international boards and advisory groups. Carol has been National CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Rural Health Workforce Australia, the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association and Painaustralia. Current board and advisory roles include the national Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling, World Patients Alliance Patient Safety and Quality Council and Founding Member of Women in Public Health Leadership. Previous roles have included: the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency Paramedicine Board, National Health and Medical Research Council, Trustee of the Southcare Rescue Helicopter Fund Pty Ltd, Aged Care Sector Committee, National Aged Care Alliance, Aged Care Quality Council, Lifeline Canberra, Medicines Australia Advisory Council and the International Alliance of Patients Organizations.
Helen Haskell
Since the medical error death of her young son Lewis in 2000, Helen Haskell has worked to bring the patient voice to healthcare safety and quality. Helen is president of the American nonprofit patient organizations Mothers Against Medical Error and Consumers Advancing Patient Safety and is an Institute for Healthcare Improvement senior fellow. She is Chair of WPA Patient Safety and Quality Council and former co-chair of the WHO Patients for Patient Safety Advisory Group and a recently retired board member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. She is a member of the board of directors of the International Society for Rapid Response Systems, the Patient Safety Action Network and is on the steering committee of Consumers United for Evidence-Based Medicine. She serves on many other boards and committees, including quality and safety committees at the National Quality Forum, AHRQ, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She was a winner of Consumer Reports’ first National Excellence in Advocacy award in 2011 and was named by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” in 2009 and by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 50 leaders in patient safety in 2015, 2016, and 2017. She has written numerous journal articles and patient educational materials on patient safety and patient engagement and is co-editor of an interprofessional textbook using patient narrative to teach patient safety and professional competencies. She has been featured in dozens of articles and videos on patient safety, including Transparent Health’s Lewis Blackman Story, shown in hospitals and medical and nursing schools across the world.
Stephanie Newell
Stephanie is a founding member and Patient Safety Champion of the World Health Organizations’ (WHO) Patients For Patient Safety program, established in 2005, and is the convenor of Patients for Patient Safety Australia. Stephanie project managed and co-facilitated the inaugural Australian WHO Patients for Patient Safety 3 day In-Country workshop in 2009 in Perth, Western Australia. The workshop and the Perth Declaration informed Australia’s focus and action on partnerships with consumers (patients/family/community) in safety and quality. Stephanie contributed to the South East Asian Regional WHO Patients for Patient Safety Workshop in 2007 and at the invitation of the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health co-facilitated the first Malaysian Patients for Patient Safety Workshop in Kuala Lumpur in 2013, assisting in the foundation of the Malaysian Patients for Patient Safety Group. As an invited expert Stephanie has contributed to the development of the 2014 WHO – Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Patient and Family Engagement Framework and the WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030. Stephanie has designed and facilitated over 70 workshops across Australia for health care staff, managers, executives and board members on creating consumer-focused organizations and partnering with consumers (patient/families/community) for patient safety and quality care. Stephanie was a consultant educator with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards for 7 years designing and delivering the Partnering with Consumers one day educational workshops across Australia to clinicians, consumers, and hospital and health service board members, executives and managers. Over the past 20 years Stephanie has held a number of Chair, Advisory Committee member and Independent Director Board positions in state and federal government in Australia in areas including safety and quality, cancer research, immunization, vaccine and chemical regulation, standards development and implementation in diagnostic imaging and health service accreditation schemes. Most recently Stephanie was a member of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare’s Sentinel Event Review Committee and the Incident Monitoring Expert Advisory Committee and an inaugural Non-Executive Director of the Australian Digital Health Agency. Stephanie is a past accreditation assessor with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, External Expert member of the Western Australian Southern Metropolitan Board Safety and Quality Committee and a Beryl Institute Patient and Family Advisory Board member. Stephanie is a past governing Board member of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia and Cancer Voices SA. Stephanie currently is a member of the Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration Advisory Committee on Complementary Medicines, the WHO Academy Patient and Community Engagement Advisory Group, and is the Consumer Lead of the Predicting and Preventing Ovarian Cancer: a machine learning approach 5-year research project of the Australian Centre for Precision Health.


Sep 20 2023


11:00 am - 12:00 pm