Patient Safety in Clinical and Resource-Poor Settings (3 ECTS/tropEd)

About this training

This self-directed e-Learning course gives a general understanding of the concept of patient safety at systems level and an integrated approach to patient safety programmes. After the introduction to the systems perspective of patient safety and patient safety risks and risk management, the last module will invite you to enter a virtual hospital, and look out for any type of potential patient safety risk in different scenes and so-called "hotspots".

The course provides information and tools for managing risks in 9 scenes: central patient reception area, intensive care unit, operating theatre, central sterilization, ward management station, pharmacy and supply, infection prevention and hospital hygiene management, obstetric care, management of human resources.

Within the 9 scenes, you can find 44 hotspots, where approximately 200 risks are described. In each hotspot, several risks are identified and detailed information on possible preventive measures is provided, including the use of risk management tools. Additional materials are available for download in each hotspot.

Learning Objectives

The course will enable students to:

  • Use systems thinking as a model for an integrated approach in patient safety;
  • Critically analyze the importance of risk management, related to provider organisations and processes, including diagnostic and medication management and comprehensive care;
  • Develop patient safety measures in clinical settings.
  • Module 1: Systems perspectives of patient safety
  • Module 2: Patient safety risks and risk management
  • Module 3: Patient safety measures implementation
Teaching and Assessment

The course is offered as a self E-learning course, providing a flexibility to the students to enter and complete the modules at their convenience. It uses a mixture of provision of content in lecture modus, case studies on a practical implication of the concepts, self-test questions. Two electronic forums for organizational questions and technical questions give at any time the opportunity for direct contact to the main tutor of the course and technical experts, who are ready to answer questions and give additional input in case of need. The course is with 90h students investment time, incl. modules completion, reading materials, discussions on the online forums. Assessment is based on:

  • Full completion of the modules and assignments within the modules (60%)
  • Active participation in technical discussions on the platform of the course (10%)
  • Final test (30%)
Course Experts

Our experts involved in the content development:

Dr Irmgard Marx is a medical doctor specialised in general medicine, tropical medicine and quality management. Furthermore, she is a certified Clinical Risk Manager, ISO-Auditor, European Practice Assessment (EPA) Assessor and EFQM Assessor and has 20 years of experience in the field of Quality Management, Patient Safety, Systemic Organisational Development and Human Resource Development in Germany and internationally. Irmgard is a lecturer at the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg and has extensive experience in all aspects of capacity building including development of e-learning courses.

Irmgard is a lecturer at the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University and has extensive experience in all aspects of capacity building including development of e-learning courses. She is highly knowledgeable in M&E structures and processes of different health systems and in the development and implementation of healthcare accreditation and indicator-based assessment systems. Her experience includes adaptation of concepts to different cultures and religions in Germany, North and Sub-Sahara Africa and Central Asia.

Dr Norma Lange-Tagaza is a Filipino-born German national doing consultancy in the areas of health, education, intercultural and international management, and development cooperation. As a Trainer, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, she brings to her work a passion for capacity development of individuals, teams and organizations using the methodologies of training, coaching and process consulting. Her topics include intercultural communication, leadership and change, conflict management and negotiation. Her training courses are theory-based, practice-oriented and client-focused and she uses a blended learning and interactive approaches. A Gestalt-trained coach and organizational development consultant, she supports the client system’s awareness, thereby enabling it to enlarge and deepen its way of thinking and doing things.

Dr Sylvia Sax is a Registered Nurse (University of Illinois) with a PhD in Global Health (University of Heidelberg) and more than 30 years’ experience internationally.  Her interest in education and healthcare improvement, strengthened through a Certificate in Adult Learning and a Master in Public Health (New Zealand), led her to work for 7 years as Coordinator of a Master in International Health. She led establishment of a programme of more than 17 short courses at the University of Heidelberg and was coordinator for 3 years of the TropEd accredited short course programme. She has advised on policy, led and undertaken large-scale evaluations and designed, led and facilitated training programs.

Requirements and Admission


Health professionals with diverse qualifications and experiences: Public health professionals, policy makers, private companies and relevant public administrations, project planners and coordinators, postgraduate students.


This course is held in English. Fluency in English (Reading, Speaking and Writing) is required.


3 ECTS & tropEd accreditation


General Admission & tropEd students € 600