• Review
  • Published April 2010

Time to listen: a review of methods to solicit patient reports of adverse events.

Identification of adverse events relies primarily on well-tested methods such as voluntary error reporting by providers, chart review using trigger tools, and screening administrative data with the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators. However, as prior research has shown that none of these methods is optimal, interest has grown in enlisting patients as a means of detecting errors. This review of 17 published studies identified various methods of eliciting safety information from patients, including post-discharge surveys of hospitalized patients and population-based surveys. Research has shown that patient reports can identify errors that were not found through traditional detection methods, although patients may conflate poor service quality with clinical adverse events. Various approaches to engaging patients in safety efforts are discussed in the Patient Safety Primer, The Role of the Patient in Safety.

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