Safety Culture: Identifying a Healthcare Organization’s Approach to Safety Event Review and Response Through the Analysis of Event Recommendations
Keywords:safety culture, event review, person-based, system-based, patient safety
A nonpunitive approach to safety event reporting and analysis is an important dimension of healthcare organization safety culture. A system-based safety event review process, one focused on understanding and improving the conditions in which individuals do their work, generally leads to more effective and sustainable safety solutions. On the contrary, the more typical person-based approach, that blames individuals for errors, often results in unsustainable and ineffective safety solutions, but these solutions can be faster and less resource intensive to implement. We sought to determine the frequency of system-based and person-based approaches to adverse event reviews through analysis of the recommendation text provided by a healthcare organization in response to an event report. Human factors and clinical safety science experts developed a taxonomy to describe the content of the recommendation text, reviewed 8,546 event report recommendations, and assigned one or more taxonomy category labels to each recommendation. The taxonomy categories aligned with a system-based approach, aligned with a person-based approach, did not provide an indicator of the approach, or indicated the review/analysis was pending. A total of 9,848 category labels were assigned to the 8,546 event report recommendations. The most frequently used category labels did not provide an indicator of the approach to event review (4,145 of 9,848 category labels, 42.1%), followed by a person-based approach (2,327, 23.6%), review/analysis pending (1,862 ,18.9%), and a system-based approach (1,514, 15.4%). Analyzing the data at the level of each recommendation, 23.2% (1,979 of 8,546) had at least one person-based and no system-based category, 13.3% (1,133) had at least one system-based and no person-based category, and 3% (254) had at least one person-based and one system-based category. There was variability in the event review approach based on the general event type assigned to the safety event (e.g., medication, transfusion, etc.) as well as harm severity. Results suggest improvements in applying system-based approaches are needed, especially for certain general event type categories. Recommendations for improving safety event reviews are provided.
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