2010, Number 5
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ABSTRACTIntroduction: Everyone has a personal story of an incident in which the healthcare system has caused harm to a family member, friend, or work colleague. In 2004, one in three Americans (34%) said that they or a family member had experienced a preventable medical error; among them, 21% said the error caused “serious health consequences” such as death (8%), long-term disability (11%) or severe pain (16%).
Discussion: The information patients give is important and can be part of a strategic model to make systemic changes to improve health outcomes and patient safety. It has been identified that one of these shortcomings is that patients’ complaints are not considered able to judge technical quality in their experience with care. We argue for an approach which should actively engage patients and their caregivers in contemplating and describing their experiences as a means to gather evidence about risks and hazards in the healthcare setting.
Conclusions: Patients ought to be viewed as partners with health care providers to improve patient safety; selfreports on adverse events can provide useful information that may be incorporated into patient safety event. Data obtained from this strategy should be useful to improve general changes in health care and a better clinical practice based on evidence.
Aspden P, Corrigan JM, Wolcott J, Erickson SM; Committee on Data Standards for Patient Safety, Board on Health Care Services. Patient safety: achieving a new standard for care. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine/National Academies Press; 2004. Available at http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10863&page=R1