Professionalism and Patient Safety

PlayDecide: Patient Safety is a "Serious Game" learning tool for health professionals to discuss patient safety and error reporting. In addition to the game itself, this site features videos of how to conduct a PlayDecide session, facilitator guides, background materials, and links to research.

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The challenge

It is important to understand the factors that make it difficult for health professionals to be open about errors, to encourage a culture of quality and safety in healthcare. The Health Information and Quality Authority have emphasised the importance of a culture of quality and safety that promotes openness and transparency, teamwork, and effective communication [1].

A 2014 survey showed that 8 out of 10 members of the Irish Public were very confident or fairly confident that their doctor would tell them if there had been a mistake or oversight during their care [2]. Against a backdrop of high numbers of patient-related incidents occurring in acute hospitals across Ireland, health professionals themselves face several challenges to reporting concerns. These include fear of retribution, false perceptions that somebody else is dealing with the problem, and the belief that nothing would actually be done after a report was submitted [2].

About PlayDecide: Patient Safety

PlayDecide: Patient Safety has been designed to act as a participatory embedded learning tool to help develop and support medical professionalism in relation to patient safety and error reporting. The medical council defines Medical Professionalism as "as set of values, enacted through behaviours and relationships, which underpin the public's trust in doctors" [2].

PlayDecide: Patient Safety was originally developed by Infotude and the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (Ecsite), and has been adapted by researchers at the School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Systems at University College Dublin. A game session lasts around 50 minutes, and is played in groups of 4-8 people. Participants first read and share brief case stories and information points, then discuss and formulate a shared policy position. The game is suitable for all members of healthcare teams, including management staff, within hospitals and other health institutions.

[1] Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) (2012). National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare. Dublin: HIQA

[2] Medical Council (Ireland) (2014). Talking About Good Professional Practice, Views on What it Means to be a Good Doctor. Dublin: Medical Council

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