Objective: A pilot study was conducted to undertake a baseline assessment of errors reported in community optometric practice. The feasibility and acceptability of a method for recording staff-reported errors in optometric community practice was investigated.
Design: An anonymous self-reporting system was introduced in order to collect information regarding errors/untoward events in community optometric practice.
Setting: UK community optometric practice.
Main outcome measures: Classification of errors according to a previously published study pertaining to general medical practice in the same geographical area.
Results: Thirty-six notebooks were distributed to 10 participating community optometric practices. At the end of the 1 month study period the note books were returned and the 439 entries made were classified into seven categories: optical prescriptions (18.2%), communication (35.5%), administrative (15%), appointments (2.3%), equipment (11.9%), clinical (10.3%) and other (6.9%).
Conclusion: A previously developed classification of errors in general medical practice was found to be equally applicable to community optometric practice. This study forms the basis of providing an acceptable and practical methodology, which can be applied by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) when developing their risk management strategy to include optometry.