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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Learning from different lenses: reports of medical errors in primary care by clinicians, staff, and patients: a project of the American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network.

Phillips RL, Dovey SM, Graham D, et al. Journal of Patient Safety. 2008;2.

This AHRQ–funded study discovered differential reporting patterns among staff, clinicians, and patients in 10 family medicine clinics. Using anonymous reporting systems during a defined study period, investigators analyzed more than 900 errors generated by an even distribution of reports from staff and clinicians. However, while staff focused on errors in patient flow and communication, clinicians noted mostly medication- and laboratory-related errors. Overall, the large majority of errors were classified as process errors rather than as knowledge- and skill-related errors. Very few patient-generated reports described an error, suggesting that different strategies may be required to engage patients in similar reporting efforts.