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Using safety cases in industry and healthcare

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Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-906461-43-0

This report presents the results of a study that reviewed the use of safety cases in six safety-critical industries, as well as the emerging use of safety cases in healthcare. Details of these reviews are available in the supplements to the report.

The aims of the study were to describe safety case use in other industries, to make pragmatic recommendations for the adoption of safety cases in healthcare and to outline possible healthcare application scenarios.

The core of a safety case is typically a risk-based argument and corresponding evidence to demonstrate that:

  • all risks associated with a particular system have been identified
  • appropriate risk controls have been put in place
  • there are appropriate processes in place to monitor the effectiveness of the risk controls and the safety performance of the system on an ongoing basis.

The purpose of a safety case is to provide a structured argument, supported by a body of evidence, that provides a compelling, comprehensible and valid case that a system is acceptably safe for a given application in a given context

The use of safety cases is an accepted best practice in UK safety-critical industries and is adopted by companies as a means of providing rigour and structure to their safety management systems.

The report highlights a number of potential benefits of using safety cases in healthcare, including:

  • promoting structured thinking about risk among clinicians and fostering multidisciplinary communication about safety
  • integrating evidence sources
  • aiding communication among stakeholders
  • making the implicit explicit.

Risks and challenges identified include safety cases:

  • becoming a paper exercise
  • being removed from everyday practice
  • being produced by the wrong people.

The Health Foundation is exploring the development of safety cases in healthcare through our Safer Clinical Systems programme. The learning from this work could have far-reaching implications, not just for how staff assure safety within their clinical settings, but also for how the regulators and commissioners of healthcare services monitor patient safety in the UK.

Supplements to the report

Additional patient safety resources

If you’re interested in patient safety then take a look at our dedicated Patient safety resource centre for hundreds of practical tools, materials and downloads.





 
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Comments
This publication is most welcome as it highlights the limitations of people and our propensity to errors. Human factors are the initiating cause of most safety issues in healthcare and other industries. I hope all clinicians will read this valuable resource.
In every industries and firms security and safety cases are given more stress to promote a better health care among employees; so employees are getting beneficial facilities from healthcare system. Therefore every industry is liable to provide better healthcare to their employees to secure their health and hazards.
http://urgentcarenow.com/directory/va/arlington
Just a good article
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