Background: Hospitalized patients and their care partners have valuable and unique perspectives of the medical care they receive. Direct and real-time reporting of patients' safety concerns, though limited in the acute care setting, could provide opportunities to improve patient care.
Methods: We implemented the MySafeCare (MSC) application on six acute care units for 18 months as part of a patient-centered health information technology intervention to promote engagement and safety in the acute care setting. The web-based application allowed hospitalized patients to submit safety concerns anonymously and in real time. We describe characteristics of patient submissions including their categorizations. We evaluated rates of submissions to MSC and compared them with rates of submissions to the Patient Family Relations department at the hospital. In addition, we performed thematic analysis of narrative concerns submitted to the application.
Results: We received 46 submissions to MSC and 33% of concerns received were anonymous. The overall rate of submissions was 0.6 submissions per 1000 patient-days and was considerably lower than the rate of submissions to the Patient Family Relations during the same period (4.1 per 1000 patient-days). Identified themes of narrative concerns included unmet care needs and preferences, inadequate communication, and concerns about safety of care.
Conclusions: Although the submission rate to the application was low, MSC captured important content directly from hospitalized patients or their care partners. A web-based patient safety reporting tool for patients should be studied further to understand patient and care partner use and willingness to engage, as well as potential effects on patient safety outcomes.