Patient safety

Evidence of unsafe care

Highlights of the Latin American Study of Adverse Events (IBEAS)

  • on any given day, 10% of the patients admitted to the participating hospitals were suffering from or were undergoing treatment for a hospital related adverse event;
  • this risk doubled when taking into account the entire patient's stay at the hospital, with 20% of inpatients experiencing at least one harmful incident during their hospitalization;
  • more than half of those harmful incidents could have been avoided.

The Latin American Study of Adverse Events (IBEAS) was carried out thanks to a collaborative effort of the governments of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, the Ministry of Health and Social Policy and Equality of Spain, which co-funded the study, the Pan American Health Organization and WHO Patient Safety.


Fostering research to help understand the magnitude and nature of unsafe care

Recent available data show that the toll of unsafe care in developing and transitional countries is, at least, comparable to that in more developed nations. While the data shown above is among the first to be gathered in comparable countries, more research is needed to improve the understanding of these problem and take corrective actions. The importance of research is also recognized for its potential to build awareness, local capacity, and improvement through measurement.