Parent-reported hospital errors and preventable adverse events often go undocumented in patient medical records, making them a missed source of reliable data for hospital safety surveillance, according to recent research in JAMA Pediatrics.
“Given the family’s central role in pediatrics, parent-reported errors may be a fruitful source of error and [adverse event (AE)] surveillance for hospitalized children and may provide lessons regarding the utility of family error reporting in other populations,” Alisa Khan, MD, MPH, of the division of general pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues wrote. “Parents may be a valuable and complementary source of data about hospital safety incidents, particularly preventable adverse events.”
Khan and her associates surveyed 383 English-speaking parents of children admitted to one of two children’s hospitals from May 2013 to October 2014. Parents were asked whether their child experienced any safety incidents during hospitalization. Responses were reviewed and classified as medical errors, quality issues or exclusions. Medical errors were reviewed and then classified as harmful or nonharmful. The researchers compared all parent-reported medical errors with patient medical records to identify any discrepancies. Patient demographic data also were collected via hospital records.
About 9% of parents reported 37 safety incidents: 62.2% were classified as medical errors after physician review, 24.3% were quality errors and 13.5% were unclassified as issues. The researchers found that 30.4% of parent-reported medical errors were harmful and caused preventable adverse events, of which 43% were not reported on medical records.
Khan and colleagues found that patients who experienced medical errors had longer hospital stays (P = .04), were more likely to have a metabolic (P = .04) or neuromuscular condition (P = .05), and were more likely to have an annual household income exceeding $100,000.
“Parent-reported preventable AE rates may be similar to those detected through medical record review–based active surveillance methods,” Khan and colleagues wrote. “Hospitals may wish to consider partnering more actively with patients and families in their efforts to detect errors and improve the safety and quality of care.” – by David Costill
Disclosure: Khan reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.