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Safety as a hospital organizational priority: a case study

Yasmeen Alhatmi (Quality & Development, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




Globally, safety in healthcare services has become an important focus. The Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH), located in the Sultanate of Oman in the Arabian Gulf, has begun to take active steps in delivering safer healthcare services while moving towards healthcare excellence. The purpose of this paper is to show the importance of prioritizing hospital‐wide safety and discuss how it has become essentially linked to the multi‐faceted dimension of quality through acceptability, efficiency accessibility and continuity in SQUH.


In an effort to shift all cultural elements of SQUH staff, system and activities towards addressing the goal of safety, SQUH has brought on a safety culture by holistic and systemic approach to quality improvement. Illustrated herein is the journey of how the hospital is addressing and measuring the goal of safety as an organizational priority through values, beliefs, goals, policies and operations.


The progressive steps that SQUH initiated since 2008 which measure, assess and ultimately change the perception of safety in the hospital are described. Specific recommendations include addressing safety culture elements of communicated values and objectives and measuring them, raising the awareness and training barriers, adopting safety goals specific to hospital environment, and centralizing a monitoring system to track input, progress and closure of safety mechanisms and activities.


The paper presents a model for improving safety in healthcare services through the initiatives of a university hospital, implementing a measureable phase approach over a two‐year period for addressing the goal of safety.



Alhatmi, Y. (2011), "Safety as a hospital organizational priority: a case study", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 203-219.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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