Patient-reported safety incidents as a new source of patient safety data: an exploratory comparative study in an acute hospital in England.

Publication authors

Armitage G; Moore S; Reynolds C; Laloë PA; Coulson C; McEachan R; Lawton R; Watt I; Wright J; O'Hara J


Objectives To compare a new co-designed, patient incident reporting tool with three established methods of detecting patient safety incidents and identify if the same incidents are recorded across methods.

Method Trained research staff collected data from inpatients in nine wards in one university teaching hospital during their stay. Those classified as patient safety incidents were retained. We then searched for patient safety incidents in the corresponding patient case notes, staff incident reports and reports to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service specific to the study wards.

Results In the nine wards, 329 patients were recruited to the study, of which 77 provided 155 patient reports. From these, 68 patient safety incidents were identified. Eight of these were also identified from case note review, five were also identified in incident reports, and two were also found in the records of a local Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Reports of patients covered a range of events from their immediate environment, involving different health professionals and spanning the entire spectrum of care.

Conclusion Patient safety incidents reported by patients are unlikely to be found through other established methods of incident detection. When hospitalized patients are asked about their care, they can provide a unique perspective on patient safety. Co-designed, real-time reporting could be a helpful addition to existing methods of gathering patient safety intelligence.