Feedback on self-reported errors may improve patient safety

To encourage voluntary reporting errors among providers, which can be used to establish protocols to improve patient safety, hospitals should establish feedback mechanisms for staff, according to a new study published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

For the study, researchers examined the results of surveys designed to assess patient safety culture administered from 2008 to 2011. In total, 223,412 healthcare professionals working across 7,816 departments or units at 967 hospitals were surveyed.

Of the 10 factors predetermined to positively influence safety culture, including perceived management support and the perception that past mistakes were not held against staff, receiving constructive feedback on errors was most highly associated with the likelihood of respondents self-reporting errors. Participants were also more inclined to report errors if they believed the hospital would use the reportage to improve systems and not blame individual providers.

"For hospital leaders looking to increase event reporting, it may be as simple as improving mechanisms to increase feedback to staff who report events, such as thanking them for taking time out of their day to file the report and communicating what is being done in response," said corresponding author James Hoffman, Pharm D, the chief patient safety officer of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

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