Physician Perception of Hospital Safety and Barriers to Incident Reporting

Authors: Schectman, Joel M.; Plews-Ogan, Margaret L.

Source: Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, Volume 32, Number 6, June 2006 , pp. 337-343(7)

Publisher: Joint Commission Resources

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Background: Despite increased attention to patient safety in recent years, physician involvement in hospital safety activities appears to have remained limited.

Methods: An anonymous survey of internal medicine housestaff and faculty physicians at an academic medical center assessed safety reporting behavior and witnessed adverse events or near misses.

Results: Although 65% of the 120 physicians responding (56% response rate) had not made any adverse event or near miss reports in the prior year, 60% had witnessed at least three adverse events or near misses. Uncertainty about reporting needs and mechanisms, concern about time required, perceived clinical import of the event in question, and lack of physician involvement in the system were all important reasons for failure to report. Concern about being blamed or judged less competent or similar consequences to others were considered less important barriers to reporting. The perceived degree of reporting barriers (p = .01) and number of witnessed adverse events or near misses (p = .005) were independently negatively associated with respondents' perception of safety. Most (58%) physicians expressed willingness to participate in the hospital safety process actively if requested.

Discussion: Physicians' barriers to safety reporting in an academic medical center are negatively associated with their perception of hospital safety. These barriers are remediable, and most physicians appear amenable to increased participation in the hospital safety process.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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