in a cross-border region

The Euregio Maas-Rhein (EMR) is characterized by a scarcity of patient safety guidelines and standards. The available guidelines and standards on patient safety are incoherent and lack interoperability. Standardisation and harmonisation of local patient safety initiatives, stimulate uniformisation among regional healthcare institutions ultimately increasing patient safety in the entire EMR region.

In contrast to the industrial and economical growth, awareness and communication on patient safety issues is underdeveloped urgently requiring more attention and qualitative upgrading. Risks and harms in terms of patient safety often result in evitable health problems for patients resulting in an increased hospital stay and an added cost to the healthcare system. A patient safety analysis of the WHO identified that:

“The consequent use of strategies to reduce the rate of adverse events in the European Union alone would lead to the prevention of more than 750000 harm-inflicting medical errors per year, leading in turn to over 3.2 million fewer days of hospitalization, 260000 fewer incidents of permanent disability, and 95000 fewer deaths per year.” [WHO].

Typical for a border-region in the European Union (EU), patients as well as healthcare providers are additionally challenged by fragmented and unconnected healthcare systems even amplifying the patient safety risks. Highly critical moments in the chain of patient safety and especially cross-border patient safety are the patient’s admission to hospital, transfer within or between hospitals, and discharge from the hospital to other healthcare providers like family doctors. According to Eurostat there were 130 million discharges in the EU in 2014. This means that on average more than 14000 patients are discharged every single hour from hospitals in the EU [Eurostat].

The transfer of responsibility for the patient’s care is therefore very frequent and important occurrences that if improperly conducted, can lead to medical errors, delay in diagnosis, life threatening adverse events, patient dissatisfaction, increased healthcare expenditure, increased length of hospital stay, and other effects that impact on the healthcare system [NCBI]. In addition, the WHO states that patient safety in different fields is not satisfactorily established and provided by the healthcare systems. For example education, clinical treatment and quality management in patient safety are poorly addressed or only partially implemented.

The EMR is well positioned to address this challenge with some highly innovative institutions and approaches towards patient safety that are combined in the SafePat consortium.

Project objective

Improving patient safety by reducing risks associated with patient admission, transfer and discharge, through connecting and standardizing best practices examples in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine (EMR). The project is split up in six phases/goals to optimize patient safety in the EMR:

  1. Analyzing the state-of-the-art
  2. Harmonizing approaches
  3. Innovative tools
  4. Empowering patients and medical staff
  5. Developing an accreditation framework
  6. Regional patient safety network

Funding of the project

The SafePAT project is subsidized by INTERREG V-A, and co-financed by the regional provinces and all partner institutions.


EU-subsidy €1.668.775

Public co-financing €1.007.145

Private co-financing €661.630