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Patient Safety in Primary Care

Date: August 4, 2014
Filed under: Improve Clinical Care, Past Clinical Improvement Initiatives, Report


As part of a broader primary health care framework, primary care is a service at the entrance to the health care system. It addresses diagnosis, ongoing treatment and the management of health conditions as well as health promotion, disease and injury prevention. Primary care coordinates the care of patients and integrates their care with the rest of the health system by enabling access to other health care providers and services.

Health care is most frequently accessed by Canadians through and within the primary care setting. Due to the volume and diversity of services provided in primary care, patient safety is a essential and important aspect of this health care setting. The need for a systematic review of patient safety in primary care is identified as a priority to better understand what is known, as well as to identify gaps in this knowledge base.

This report builds upon what is known about patient safety in primary care. That knowledge emerges from three sources: 1) findings from published scientific studies and grey literature; 2) interviews with individuals who have expertise in patient safety in primary care; and 3) broad-based discussion among a relatively large group of individuals representing different interests in primary care. This report offers suggestions and outlines opportunities that, it is hoped, will provide momentum to those in both leadership and delivery roles to strengthen the infrastructures and supports necessary for a greater focus on patient safety in primary care.

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