The Patient Safety Movement Foundation (PSMF) released the results from its “2021 Patient Safety Awareness Poll,” which found that the public feels less in control over what happens to their health and that there is still a long way to go to educate the public about medical errors.
Some key findings included:
· Only 53.2% of individuals know what the term “medical error” means and 37% were able to correctly define it.
· It is apparent that there is still much work to do to bring awareness to this worldwide issue, as 87.3% of the respondents had heard little or nothing about medical error or patient harm in their local area.
· Fifty-eight percent of the public is worried about medical errors during “every visit” or “occasionally” – especially outside of high-income countries.
· Only 45.9% of the public feels in control over what happens to their health, down 31% from 2020.
· When asked what key areas of concern were, 50.9% were worried about out-of-pocket costs, 44% were most worried about receiving worse healthcare following the COVID-19 pandemic and 34.3% were concerned about access to quality care.
· The public overwhelmingly supported creating more public information about this problem, with 82.4% interested in having more focus on promoting patient safety.
“We believe the public should be informed and feel confident in the care they are receiving, and these findings underscore that there is still improvement to be made,” said David B. Mayer, MD, CEO of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation. “Our movement requires a collective effort to achieve patient safety across the globe and while we have made significant progress focused on educating the public about patient safety in the last year, we are committed to continuing to bring awareness to this important issue.”
The survey was conducted by ClearPath Strategies in March 2021. It consisted of 1,725 English-speaking individuals spanning six countries: Australia, India, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. The “2021 Patient Safety Awareness Poll Results Compared to 2020 Assessment” white paper can be accessed at: https://patientsafetymovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/3166A-ClearPath-Part-II-White-Paper-2.pdf.