Can patient safety be measured by surveys of patient experiences?
Patients are increasingly knowledgeable about medical errors and the quality of care, and this study explored whether patient satisfaction surveys could be used to detect medical errors. All reported incidents were reviewed by physicians to determine if a true error occurred. Although many incidents were reported, only a very small percentage were determined to represent true errors after review, similar to a prior study conducted in outpatient chemotherapy centers. Most "errors" represented misunderstanding by patients or communication problems.