Field Test of the World Health Organization Multi-Professional Patient Safety Curriculum Guide


Although the importance of training in patient safety has been acknowledged for over a decade, it remains under-utilized and under-valued in most countries. WHO developed the Multi-professional Patient Safety Curriculum Guide to provide schools with the requirements and tools for incorporating patient safety in education. It was field tested with 12 participating schools across the six WHO regions, to assess its effectiveness for teaching patient safety to undergraduate and graduate students in a global variety of settings.


The evaluation used a combined prospective/retrospective design to generate formative information on the experiences of working with the Guide and summative information on the impacts of the Guide. Using stakeholder interviews and student surveys, data were gathered from each participating school at three times: the start of the field test (baseline), soon after each school started teaching, and soon after each school finished teaching.


Stakeholders interviewed were strongly positive about the Guide, noting that it emphasized universally important patient safety topics, was culturally appropriate for their countries, and gave credibility and created a focus on patient safety at their schools. Student perceptions and attitudes regarding patient safety improved substantially during the field test, and their knowledge of the topics they were taught doubled, from 10.7% to 20.8% of correct answers on the student survey.


This evaluation documented the effectiveness of the Curriculum Guide, for both ease of use by schools and its impacts on improving the patient safety knowledge of healthcare students. WHO should be well positioned to refine the contents of the Guide and move forward in encouraging broader use of the Guide globally for teaching patient safety.