PHA 5270 Health Care & Patient Safety


This course will provide an overview of patient safety but from a psychological perspective. Emphasis will be placed on the dynamics of human behavior at all levels of analysis that impact safety in pharmacy and health care generally. The course is designed to demonstrate how safe behavior in health care systems is best understood as the result of critical interactions between the structural system and the humans existing within it, resulting in errors that are emergent properties rather than tangible stimuli.

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Understand the nature of “human factors” and how they may apply to safe health care practices
  2. Consider an “emergent property” perspective on error and what that means for patient safety
  3. Be able to critically examine the role of automation and technology in health care as it impacts the safety of patients
  4. Comprehend the concept of “safety culture” and the ways in which humans and systems believe and act with respect to “risk”
  5. Examine the notion of “just culture,” explore its strengths and weaknesses, and consider implementation challenges
  6. Be able to critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of safety tools such as adverse event reporting, resource management training, and investigative procedures (i.e., RCA)
  7. Understand how the historical definition of “health care” continues to affect the way in which it is practiced today, sometimes to the detriment of safety
  8. Integrate core concepts in basic psychological theory to the practice of patient safety, such as human memory, judgment and decision making, and motivation
  9. Be generally well-grounded in the theory of patient safety

Tuition: $2,250
Credits: 3

*Please note that this syllabus is subject to change. Use the updated syllabus in Canvas as the official course syllabus.