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BMJ. 2007 Jan 13;334(7584):79. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

Sensitivity of routine system for reporting patient safety incidents in an NHS hospital: retrospective patient case note review.

Author information

1
Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York YO10 5DD.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the performance of a routine incident reporting system in identifying patient safety incidents.

DESIGN:

Two stage retrospective review of patients' case notes and analysis of data submitted to the routine incident reporting system on the same patients.

SETTING:

A large NHS hospital in England.

POPULATION:

1006 hospital admissions between January and May 2004: surgery (n=311), general medicine (n=251), elderly care (n=184), orthopaedics (n=131), urology (n=61), and three other specialties (n=68).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Proportion of admissions with at least one patient safety incident; proportion and type of patient safety incidents missed by routine incident reporting and case note review methods.

RESULTS:

324 patient safety incidents were identified in 230/1006 admissions (22.9%; 95% confidence interval 20.3% to 25.5%). 270 (83%) patient safety incidents were identified by case note review only, 21 (7%) by the routine reporting system only, and 33 (10%) by both methods. 110 admissions (10.9%; 9.0% to 12.8%) had at least one patient safety incident resulting in patient harm, all of which were detected by the case note review and six (5%) by the reporting system.

CONCLUSION:

The routine incident reporting system may be poor at identifying patient safety incidents, particularly those resulting in harm. Structured case note review may have a useful role in surveillance of routine incident reporting and associated quality improvement programmes.

PMID:
17175566
PMCID:
PMC1767248
DOI:
10.1136/bmj.39031.507153.AE
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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