How digital technology and data can support a global movement for patient safety

  • 27th May 2021

We are delighted to announce that Patient Safety Learning's Chief Executive Helen Hughes has been recognised by HIMSS as a Patient Leader in digital healthcare, alongside Birgit Bauer, Tiffany McKever and Christine Von Raesfeld.

”Avoidable patient harm is a global challenge in all healthcare systems. Innovative digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise health and care and ensure that we design and deliver for safety. Collecting, storing, managing and intelligently using high quality data for evidence-based practise is an important part of implementing patient safety solutions.”

This is Helen Hughes’ summary quote on being announced as one of the #HIMSSFuture50 Community in the Patient Leader category.[1] This Community identifies, celebrates and connects top digital health leaders who have made significant contributions to digital health around the world. Members work alongside HIMSS and the global healthcare community to overcome systemic health challenges by addressing gaps and needs at the local and regional level. Alumni serve as leaders and mentors to inspire future generations of change.

Helen said:

"this award is a tremendous achievement for Patient Safety Learning, a charity and independent voice for system-wide change. Its vision is to help transform safety in healthcare, creating a world where patients are free from avoidable harm. It seeks to fulfil this vision through policy, influencing and campaigning and the creation of ‘how to’ resources such as the platform for shared learning – the hub.”

Why Patient Safety Learning created the hub

Patient safety is a major and persistent problem. Every year there are millions of avoidable deaths of patients, each an unnecessary tragedy and an ‘overlooked pandemic’.[2] One of the causal factors is that healthcare is systematically poor at learning from harm and sharing good practice. This means that different patients are destined to suffer the same kinds of harm over and over. We know why unsafe care happens and we have the knowledge to address it, but we don’t always have the tools to apply this knowledge and we don’t always share this knowledge and in ways that are accessible to leaders, healthcare workers and patients. If patients are to be safer, we need to share this knowledge and learning.

the hub is an award-winning platform to share learning for patient safety

the hub offers a powerful combination of tools, resources, stories, ideas, case studies and good practice to anyone who wants to make care safer for patients. Its communities of interest provide a place to discuss patient safety concerns and how to address them.

It has been designed by and for patient safety experts, health care workers, organisational leaders, academics, patients, campaigners and policy strategists to address the challenge of how to source, share and apply knowledge to reduce error and harm.

Since its launch in October 2019, the hub is having huge impact in empowering a social movement for harm reduction. There have been nearly half a million page views from over 140 thousand visitors. We have people accessing patient safety knowledge from 194 countries with members in 52 countries. Nearly 30% of visitors to the site are from outside the UK, a proportion that is increasing as more people find and value the hub.[3]

Patient engagement and empowerment through the hub

the hub’s communities of interest are places to discuss patient safety issues or concerns. It enables people to come together in a collaborative environment to build on improvements and adapt solutions for local implementation.

Increasingly existing networks have started to call the hub their home, keen to utilise the functionality it offers and the wider engagement that it makes possible.

Geography is no longer a barrier in the sharing of knowledge and learning. Patient safety issues are not country specific and topics such as painful hysteroscopies and the women injured by surgical meshes affect patients all over the world. This content attracts dozens of countries to the hub every week.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am to you all for the support and advocacy since the early days. It really means a lot and is very much needed." Claire Hastie, Long Covid Support Group
“I have a very limited pool of information, and in my particular role, I am the only person in that role in Wales. To be able to come somewhere where I can research information from all over the world (potentially) and follow conversations with people with different opinions – for me it’s been fantastic!” Gethin Bateman, Digital Health and Care Wales

A global vision; join the hub

the hub is a place for global communities to share tools, resources and experiences to make improvements, assisting each other and closing the loop on their effectiveness. We have a dedicated area on the hub for international patient safety organisations and we regularly share content from other countries – for example, the safety improvement model ‘Below ten thousand’ from Australia and the blog series from our Topic Lead Ehi Iden from OHSAfrica, on organisational culture and leadership.

the hub is free to everyone anywhere in the world and we encourage you to sign up, share your knowledge, engage with others and learn how to reduce avoidable harm.

Thank you HIMMS

Many thanks to HIMMS for this award and providing Patient Safety Learning the opportunity to support its ambition for the hub to become a global resource for safer care.

[1] HIMSS, HIMMS Future 50 Community, Last Accessed 24 May 2021.

[2] The G20 Health & Development Partnership, The Overlooked Pandemic – How to Transform Patient Safety and Save Healthcare Systems, 18 March 2021.

[3] Patient Safety Learning, the hub, Last Accessed 24 May 2021.


A platform for anyone with an interest in patient safety to share and learn from one another. Learn more.

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