Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Applying Systems Safety in Healthcare (ASSH)

Dr George Despotou

Lecturer: Dr George Despotou

Lecturer: Dr George Despotou

This is an online delivered course consisting of a series of short (20-35 minute) online, on-demand lectures, covering three subject units. The course is addressed to all professionals who have a day-to-day interest in healthcare, or have a special safety related roles (such as clinical safety officer), and does not require previous knowledge of safety. It is offered by the Institute of Digital Healthcare, under WMG, University of Warwick.

Why you should attend

There has been an increasing international impetus towards improvement in healthcare safety. A number of studies and reports highlighting that a significant portion of adverse effects in healthcare can be prevented, by analysis and optimisation of the healthcare delivery system.

“A comprehensive approach to improving patient safety is needed. …large complex problems require, multifaceted responses” (To Err is Human, IOM)

“There was a combination of factors, of deficiencies throughout the complexity that is the NHS, which produced the vacuum in which the running of the Trust was allowed to deteriorate” (Francis Report)

“If we want safer, higher-quality care, we will need to have re-designed systems of care, including the use of information technology to support clinical and administrative processes” (Crossing the Quality Chasm, IOM)

The course looks at safety as a multi-faceted attributed of a complex socio-technical system that is healthcare. The course introduces the core concept of safety, as well as more advanced topics and techniques, which can be applied to continuous improvement of safety in a healthcare system.

Course Learning Outcomes and Expected Skills

Course participants should expect to:

  1. Understand the concepts of safety engineering
  2. Explore how the basic concepts of safety are applied to healthcare
  3. Recognise the tenets of appropriate safety culture
  4. Identify safety analysis methods applicable to healthcare
  5. Consolidate the means of achieving assurance on the safety of clinical services
  6. Recognise how IT can affect safety
  7. Establish the use of safety cases in healthcare

The course balances the academic and practical aspects, offering a mixture of theory and examples to illustrate potential applications of the concepts.

Course Overview

The course consists of three units.

Unit 1 – Fundamentals of systems safety.
Unit 1 is suitable for anyone who would like an introduction to fundamental concepts of systems safety, such as safety concepts, risk assessment, safety culture and organisational safety.

Unit 2 – Designing safe healthcare services.
Unit 2 is suitable for anyone who would like to learn and understand more advanced safety concepts and methods used in healthcare. Unit 2 is intended for anyone who would like to perform or contribute to safety analysis of their services. Unit 3 covers subjects such as modelling of services, clinical FMEA, and clinical safety cases.

Unit 3 – Safety and health IT.
Unit 3 is suitable for anyone who would like to understand how health IT could contribute, but also threat patient safety; as well as how an organisation may reduce the business risk due to health IT. This module can be attended by anyone and is not aimed at only ICT professionals.

The lecturer

The course is delivered by Dr George Despotou who has over 10 years’ experience in application of safety engineering. He has worked with NHS Trusts and the HSCIC on safety of health IT and clinical safety and he is a fellow participating in the Q initiative (Health Foundation) aiming to improve safety in healthcare.