Safe patient care at the interfaces with primary care

Dorien Zwart


The interfaces of primary care are inherently connected to other domains of health care and crossing the boundaries between these domains is hazardous for patients. Yet, the number of transitions between different domains of healthcare is increasing, mainly due to the ageing of the population with subsequent increasing morbidity, substitution of care from hospital to primary care and increasing collaborative care provided in networks around the patient. Studies have shown that transitions in healthcare are at risk for serious patient safety incidents.

Still, most of the efforts for improving patient safety management have been confined to a single professional domain, i.e. either primary or hospital care, not explicitly addressing the interface. And when studies that did aim for improving safety of care transitions between primary and secondary care were showing significant success of individual care transition interventions, scaling these appeared to be laborious and outcomes remained sub-suboptimal. Indeed, implementing a care transition intervention in a different context seems to have consequences for its potency to improve outcomes.

This keynote will focus on key elements for safe care provision at the interface with primary care and hospital care: understanding of the working of the care transition process, a mutual patient safety culture and the potential of patient participation.

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