Journal of Social Change




Although the principles of Gross National Happiness (GNH) are currently being used as the overall framework for Bhutan’s development programs (including healthcare services), little is known about how Bhutanese healthcare professionals perceive the relationship between GNH and patient safety or how the GNH principles could help in improving patient safety in Bhutan’s healthcare system. The aim of this study was to explore how Bhutanese healthcare professionals, educators, managers, and policy makers perceive the relationship between GNH and patient safety and what they believe should be done to improve patient safety in Bhutan. A qualitative exploratory descriptive study using in-depth interviews was undertaken. All audio-recordings were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content and thematic analysis strategies. Four major themes were identified: patient safety being important for GNH; incorporating the concept of GNH in healthcare; adopting the GNH values, whereby everyone believes that “someone’s happiness would be our happiness”; and educating healthcare professionals about GNH. Incorporation of the concept of GNH in healthcare could help transform the attitudes and behaviors of healthcare professionals toward patient care by producing a “Bhutanized” doctors and healthcare professionals and creating a Bhutanized healthcare system.