(Photo: Stig Marlon Weston)

The Norwegian Patient Safety Programme: In Safe Hands

Publisert  Oppdatert 

In Safe Hands was originally launched in 2011 as a patient safety campaign by the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services. From 2014, the campaign continued as a five-year programme. The aim of the programme is to reduce patient harm.

Goals and objectives

The overall aim of In Safe Hands is to reduce patient harm and improve patient safety in Norway. To accomplish this, three objectives have been defined:

  • Reduce preventable patient harm.
  • Establish lasting structures for patient safety.
  • Improve the patient safety culture in the health and care services.

Target Areas

A group of health care experts have identified several target areas where the potential for clinical improvements is significant and possible interventions are proven effective. The target areas are:

  • Safe surgery, with a particular focus on post-operative infections
  • Medication reconciliation 
  • Medication review in nursing homes 
  • Medication review in home care services 
  • Stroke treatment 
  • Prevention of pressure ulcer 
  • Prevention of urinary tract infection 
  • Prevention of central line infection 
  • Prevention of suicide in inpatient psychiatric units
  • Prevention of overdose deaths after discharge from an institution
  • Prevention of falls in healthcare institutions
  • Management of patient safety

Selecting and implementing interventions

Expert groups consider which interventions in each target area will contribute most to patient harm prevention. The expert groups suggest packages or bundles of interventions in each target area that the campaign will try out in various pilot projects. The pilot projects are evaluated prior to national implementation of the interventions.

In order to assist trusts and community healthcare in implementing the interventions, the campaign arranges collaboratives based on the Breakthrough series for each target area.

Monitoring results

Health and care institutions register and monitor interventions and results in all target areas. In Safe Hands uses a translated and adapted version of the Extranet, developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The Extranet is based on the use of statistic process control in order to track results of interventions locally. In addition, all health trusts monthly measure patient harm using the tool Global Trigger Tool (GTT).

Finally, all treatment units in each hospital carried out a patient safety culture survey in 2012 using the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ).


The patient safety programme is commissioned by The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services. The Ministry has appointed a steering group that is led by the Director General of Health.

The steering group is authorised to decide on the organisation and design of the programme. In Safe Hands is carried out by a programme secretariat at the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services. The secretariat is lead by Anne-Grete Skjellanger.

Should you have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the secretariat at post@pasientsikkerhetsprogrammet.no, or by phone +47 464 19 575