Are your consumer partnerships strong? This classification of ‘strength of consumer engagement in safety’ will help you find out
Consumers’ perspectives and active engagement are critical to making health systems safer and more person-centred. Consumers, families, caregivers and the community can contribute towards improving care-related safety at the clinical (local), institutional (e.g., hospital, nursing home), community (e.g., primary care, home care) and national (in the development of national policies) levels of healthcare systems.
This OECD report is useful for consumer safety practitioners as it gives a global view of the consumer role in human services’ care-related safety. It covers:
(i) The economic impact of consumer engagement in care-related safety
(ii) The results of a pilot data collection to measure consumer-reported experiences of safety
(iii) The status of initiatives on consumer engagement for consumer safety in 21 countries, based on the results retrieved from a survey.
The report uses a helpful classification for the strength of consumer engagement in safety - that human services could adapt and use internally:
- Strong (e.g. Consumers are partners or co-designers of a consumer safety initiative and have a decision-making role in the development cycle of a consumer safety initiative – co-producing safe people-centred healthcare)
- Medium (e.g. Consumers are involved at some stages of developing a consumer safety initiative)
- Low (e.g. Consumers are informed or consulted at some stage of developing a consumer safety initiative)
Having reviewed the consumer engagement practices of 21 OECD countries, the report lists key recommendations for enhancing consumer engagement in creating safe care. These are helpful for all human service organisations as useful guidance for evolving consumer engagement in improving care-related safety. These include:
- Build trust for safer healthcare through stronger consumer and family engagement: Trust in healthcare systems is fundamental to consumer safety. Trust can be built through increased consumer and family engagement during the care journey.
- Institutionalise consumer engagement for consumer safety: More efforts are needed to institutionalise the engagement of consumers, families carers, and communities in consumer safety improvement initiatives, as well as learning from the firsthand experiences of consumers and families.
- Establish better platforms and networks for sharing experiences and good practices in consumer engagement
- Strengthen consumer engagement for consumer safety at institution and clinical levels: Countries can further engage consumers in prioritising funding allocation to consumer safety research projects, embedding consumer engagement in developing safety initiatives such as service design and enhancing communication.
- Enhance monitoring of consumer safety for keeping track of progress and building accountability; data on consumer experiences should be monitored as part of broader data collection on consumer safety
- Improve the quality of consumer-reported safety indicators, systematically use them for improving consumer safety and use consumer safety data promptly in quality improvement cycles
All accessed 19/12/23:
Kendir, C., et al. (2023), "Consumer engagement for consumer safety: The why, what, and how of consumer engagement for improving consumer safety", OECD Health Working Papers, No. 159, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/5fa8df20-en.