Methods and Measurement in Patient Safety
Project leads: Dr Jeanette Jackson, email@example.com 01224 272247 & Prof Rhona Flin
Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, this project (2008-11) investigates available methods and measurement issues in Patient Safety Research. There is a wide range of methods available measuring the state of patient safety. The WHO classifies methods into assessing retrospective, prospective and concurrent states of patient safety. In particular, retrospective measurements (eg. medical records) explore incidents and raise awareness about patient safety issues. Based on knowledge about the scale of harm to patients, prospective methods have been developed to identify the potential areas of hazard and possible causes of error. In clinical practice, concurrent methods (eg. checklists and audits) allow to monitor patient care processes, to estimate error rates and to assess performance.
Current areas of the project involve:
1. Developing the 'Measuring Patient Safety Website' summarising information on alternative methods of measurimg patient safety based on the classification into retrospective, prospective and concurrent approaches. In addition, the website aims to provide links to sources for the various tools and techniques.
2. Organising a seminar series on defining and measuring patient safety culture to explore what is meant by patient safety culture and how we can effectively measure it, develop new ideas for further research, establish a community of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers who can engage in a sustained discussion of the issues and to build the knowledge and skills of early career researchers, including students. Patient safety culture refers to the often unconscious values, attitudes and behaviours that exist in healthcare organisations and that determine how staff ensures that patient care is safe. Culture often determines how people do things and the expectations and attitudes that people hold. It is therefore very important to understand the culture in a particular healthcare organisation when planning to make an intervention to improve safety. Measuring patient safety culture over time can also be a valuable way for an organisation to monitor their own progress on improving safety. However, the tools we currently have for measuring patient safety culture have many problems, including lack of conceptual clarity about what they are measuring, lack of a theoretical framework that would allow us to understand how patient safety culture affects behaviour and lack of statistical information that would allow us to judge the quality of the tools. In addition, most tools do not address the culture of managers in organsatiions, concentrating on frontline staff only.
3. 'Perception of Patient Safety in Scottish Hospitals', questionnaire study.
4. Exploring the Benefits of Patient Safety Walk Rounds to improve communication about patient safety issues between health care employees and executives, in order to refine the process of walk rounds and to enhance its effectiveness.
5. Investigating incident reporting systems (DATIX) and possible implications of data analysis methods in the oil industry.