Health Care Provider Factors Associated with Patient-Reported Adverse Events and Harm

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020 May;46(5):282-290. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.02.004. Epub 2020 Feb 21.


Background: Patients can provide valuable information missing from traditional sources of safety data, thus adding new insights about factors that lead to preventable harm. In this study, researchers determined associations between patient-reported contributory factors and patient-reported harms experienced after an adverse event (AE).

Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted of a national sample of patient-reported AEs (surgical, medication, diagnostic, and hospital-acquired infection) gathered through an online questionnaire between January 2010 and February 2016. Generalized logit multivariable regression was used to assess the association between patient-reported contributory factors and patient-reported harms (grouped as nonphysical harm only, physical harm only, physical harm and emotional or financial harm, and all three harms) and adjusted for patient and AE characteristics.

Results: One third of patients (32.6%) reported experiencing all three harms, 27.3% reported physical harms and one additional harm, 25.5% reported physical harms only, and 14.7% reported nonphysical harms only. Patients reporting all three harms were 2.5 times more likely to have filed a report with a responsible authority (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.23-5.01) and 3.3 times more likely to have also experienced a surgical complication (95% CI = 1.42-7.51). Odds of reporting problems related to communication between clinician and patients/families or clinician-related behavioral issues was 13% higher in those experiencing all three harm types (95% CI = 1.07-1.19).

Conclusion: Patients' experiences are important to identify safety issues and reduce harm and should be included in patient safety measurement and improvement activities. These findings underscore the need for policy and practice changes to identify, address, and support harmed patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Patient Safety*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires