Medical errors and cultural errors threaten patient safety. We know that access to care, quality of care and clinical safety are all impacted by cultural issues. Numerous approaches to describing cultural barriers to patient safety have been developed, but these taxonomies do not provide a useful set of tools for defining the nature of the problem and consequently do not establish a sound base for problem solving.

The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre has implemented a cross-cultural patient safety (CCPS) model (Walker 2009). We developed an analytical CCPS framework within the organization, and in this article, we detail the validation process for our framework by way of a literature review and surveys of local and international healthcare professionals.

We reinforce the position that while cultural competency may be defined by the service provider, cultural safety is defined by the client. In addition, we document the difficulties surrounding the measurement of cultural competence in terms of patient outcomes, which is an underdeveloped dimension of the field of patient safety. We continue to explore the correlation between organizational performance and measurable patient outcomes.