Measuring errors and adverse events in health care

J Gen Intern Med. 2003 Jan;18(1):61-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20147.x.


In this paper, we identify 8 methods used to measure errors and adverse events in health care and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. We focus on the reliability and validity of each, as well as the ability to detect latent errors (or system errors) versus active errors and adverse events. We propose a general framework to help health care providers, researchers, and administrators choose the most appropriate methods to meet their patient safety measurement goals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Errors / classification
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Models, Organizational
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Systems Analysis