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Pediatr Qual Saf. 2019 Apr 12;4(3):e167. doi: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000167. eCollection 2019 May-Jun.

Encouraging Resident Adverse Event Reporting: A Qualitative Study of Suggestions from the Front Lines.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA.
VA Salt Lake City Health Services Research and Development IDEAS 2.0 Center of Innovation, Salt Lake City, UT.
Department of Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.



Little is known about what motivates residents to report adverse events. The goals of the qualitative study were to: (1) better understand facilitators to residents' event reporting and (2) identify effective interventions that encourage residents to report.


The authors conducted focus groups of upper-level residents from 4 training programs (2 internal medicine, a pediatric, and a combined medicine-pediatric) who rotated at 3 institutions within a large healthcare system in 2016. Quantitative data on reporting experience were gathered. Focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed. Two coders reviewed transcripts using the editing approach and organized codes into themes.


Sixty-four residents participated in 8 focus groups. Residents were universally exposed to reportable events and knew how to report. Residents' reporting behavior varied by site according to local culture, with residents filing more reports at the pediatric hospital compared to other sites, but all groups expressed similar general views about facilitators to reporting. Facilitators included familiarity with the investigation process, reporting via telephone, and routine safety educational sessions with safety administrators. Residents identified specific interventions that encouraged reporting at the pediatric hospital, including incorporating an attending physician review of events into sign-out and training on error disclosure.


This study provides insight into what motivates resident event reporting and describes concrete interventions to increase reporting. Our findings are consistent with the Theoretical Domains Framework of behavioral change. These strategies could prove successful at other pediatric hospitals to build a culture that values reporting and prepares residents as patient safety champions.

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