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Parents Often Report Medical Errors in Peds Inpatient Care

Thirty percent of medical errors were identified as preventable adverse events

WEDNESDAY, March 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Parents frequently report medical errors in pediatric inpatient care, according to a study published online Feb. 29 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Alisa Khan, M.D., M.P.H., from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study within two general pediatric units at a children’s hospital. They surveyed 471 parents of randomly selected inpatients prior to discharge to examine the frequency with which parents experience patient safety incidents. The incidents were classified by physician reviewers as medical errors, other quality issues, or exclusions. Medical errors were further categorized as harmful (preventable adverse events [AEs]) or non-harmful.

The researchers found that 34 of the 383 parents who responded reported 37 safety events. On physician review, 62, 24, and 14 percent, respectively, were determined to be medical errors, other quality problems, or neither. Thirty percent of medical errors caused harm and were considered preventable AEs (1.8 per 100 admissions). Compared to those without errors, children with medical errors had longer lengths of stay (median, 2.9 versus 2.5 days; P = 0.04), more often had a metabolic or neuromuscular condition (P = 0.04 and 0.05, respectively), and more often had an annual household income greater than $100,000 (P = 0.06), in bivariate analysis. On subsequent medical record review, 57 percent of parent-reported medical errors were identified.

“Hospitals may wish to consider incorporating family reports into routine safety surveillance systems,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Virgin Pulse and served as an expert witness in cases regarding patient safety and sleep deprivation.

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