Patients' views of adverse events in primary and ambulatory care: a systematic review to assess methods and the content of what patients consider to be adverse events

Lang, Sarah; Velasco Garrido, Marcial; Heintze, Christoph
January 2016
BMC Family Practice;1/27/2016, Vol. 17, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Patient safety gained widespread public attention in the last 20 years. However, most patient safety research relied upon professionals' exceptions and was realised especially in the hospital sector. Gradually patients' attention has been focused on safety campaigns in inpatient care. We aimed to better assess patients' perceptions in primary and ambulatory care. Methods: A systematic review was conducted by use of database searches with additional reference and hand searching. The search strategy implied MeSH-terms relating to adverse events, incident reporting and outpatient care. Relevant articles were selected by applying defined eligibility criteria. Studies exclusively based on hospital data as well as the professionals' point of view were excluded. Results: We included 19 studies. Patients were able to identify events that were traditionally recognised by the medical community as technical medical aspects (e.g. errors in diagnosis). An important field of patient participation in prevention of adverse events was proposed in the medication process. Most reported events however could be described as service quality incidents. Communication problems were shown to have implications on the occurrence of technical medical aspects and patients' satisfaction of their care. Further, unsatisfied patients were more likely to recognize adverse events. Conclusion: Patients' perception of patient safety in primary and ambulatorycare broadened the previous focus on technical medical aspects. Especially communication factors played an important role in the occurrence and consequence of adverse events and patients' satisfaction. Future research should concentrate on developing possible ways to integrate patients' views and participation in ensuring safety in outpatient care.


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