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Patient safety incident

Event or circumstance which could have resulted, or did result, in unnecessary harm to a patient (WHO-ICPS). While being treated, patients hope that their health-related problems will be appropriately handled and healthcare professionals trust that their procedures, equipment, and training should be used in good working order and in the proper way.

Unfortunately, every year between 8 and 12% of the people admitted to hospitals and around 2% of those in primary care in the EU suffer from an adverse event (AE) while receiving healthcare, many of which are preventable. The European Barometer indicates that 53% of EU citizens think that patients could be harmed by hospital care. The human burden associated with AEs represents a relevant cost in personal and economic terms. The consequences of preventable AEs to the EU amount has been calculated to a loss of 1.5 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), also resulting in an annual cost in the range of 17–38 billion euros.

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