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Int J Surg. 2012;10(9):493-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Building global capacity for patient safety: a training program for surgical safety research in developing and transitional countries.

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Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK.



Recent studies show a significant rate of adverse events in hospitalized patients in developing/transitional countries--with approximately 18% of them related to surgical procedures. Understanding and preventing these errors requires adequate training in patient safety research methods--however, relevant training programs are currently lacking. We developed, delivered and evaluated a training program to address this gap.


A one-day training program was developed based on the recently published WHO core competencies for patient safety research. The focus was on surgical patient safety research - including human factors, operating room (OR) teamwork, the OR environment, and safety culture. Feasibility, relevance and preliminary evaluation of the program ('proof of concept' testing) was conducted in Bogotá, Colombia in July 2011. A validated evaluation framework was utilized, assessing participants' objective knowledge, attitudes, and observational skills.


30 postgraduate students from a range of clinical/non-clinical disciplines signed up and 17 attended the program. Participants' knowledge of surgical patient safety significantly improved upon program completion (Mean pre-course=55% vs. Mean post-course=68%, P<0.01), as did their confidence and understanding of problems and methodologies to assess OR patient safety, and teamwork issues (P<0.05). Observational skills in recognizing safety-related behaviors using OTAS (i.e., quality of teamwork) improved on qualitative evaluation.


We have developed a viable, WHO-driven training program that can be delivered to clinical and non-clinical researchers to develop their competencies and thereby build capacity in developing/transitional countries to carry out surgical safety research. All program materials are available in English and Spanish for research, training and dissemination.

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