[Avoidable adverse events in primary care. Retrospective cohort study to determine their frequency and severity]

Aten Primaria. 2020 Dec;52(10):705-711. doi: 10.1016/j.aprim.2020.02.008. Epub 2020 Jun 9.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: To determine the frequency of avoidable adverse events (AAEs) in Primary Care (PC).

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Location: Family medicine and paediatric clinics in Andalusia, Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, Madrid, Navarre, and Valencia.

Participants: A review was performed on a designated sample of 2,397 medical records (95% confidence level and 2% accuracy). The sample was stratified by age group as regards the frequency of physician consultations and considering equal distribution of male and female patients.

Main measurements: Number and severity of identified AAEs from February 2018 to September 2019.

Results: A total of 2,557 medical records were reviewed (1,928, 75.4% of adult patients, and 629, 24.6% paediatrics). A total of 182 (7.1%, 95% CI 6.1-8.1%) AAEs that affected 168 patients were identified, which included 7.6% (95% CI 6.4-8.8%) in adults and 5.7% (95% CI 3.9-7.5%) in paediatric patients. The number of AAEs in women was higher than in men (P = 0.006). The incidence of AAEs in boys and girls was similar (P = 0.3). Permanent damage was caused by AAEs in 6 (4.1%) adult patients.

Conclusions: Seeking formulas to increase patient safety in PC should remain a priority objective, particularly in female patients and in paediatrics. One in 24 AAEs causes serious and permanent damage in adults.

Keywords: Atención Primaria; Calidad asistencial; Cohort study; Errores médicos; Estudio de cohortes; Medical errors; Patient safety; Primary Care; Quality assurance; Seguridad del paciente.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't