Context: Reporting of medical errors is a widely recognized mechanism for initiating patient safety improvement, yet we know little about the feasibility of error reporting in physician offices, where the majority of medical care in the United States is rendered. Objective: To identify barriers and motivators for error reporting by family physicians and their office staff based on the experiences of those participating in a testing process error reporting study. Design: Qualitative focus group study, analyzed using the editing method. Setting: Eight volunteer practices of the American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network. Participants: 139 physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and staff who took part in 18 focus groups. Instrument: Interview questions asked about making reports, what prevents more reports from being made, and decisions about when to make reports. Results: Four factors were seen as central to making error reports: the burden of effort to report, clarity regarding the information requested in an error report, the perceived benefit to the reporter, and properties of the error (eg, severity, responsibility). The most commonly mentioned barriers were related to the high burden of effort to report and lack of clarity regarding the requested information. The most commonly mentioned motivator was perceived benefit. Conclusion: Successful error reporting systems for physicians' offices will need to have low reporting burden, have great clarity regarding the information requested, provide direct benefit through feedback useful to reporters, and take into account error severity and personal responsibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Family Practice