Background: The validity and usefulness of incident reporting and other methods for identifying adverse events remains unclear. This study aimed to compare five methods in general practice.
Methods: In a prospective observational study, with five general practitioners, five methods were applied and compared. The five methods were physician reported adverse events, pharmacist reported adverse events, patients' experiences of adverse events, assessment of a random sample of medical records, and assessment of all deceased patients.
Results: A total of 68 events were identified using these methods. The patient survey accounted for the highest number of events and the pharmacist reports for the lowest number. No overlap between the methods was detected. The patient survey accounted for the highest number of events and the pharmacist reports for the lowest number.
Conclusion: A mix of methods is needed to identify adverse events in general practice.