Plugging in the safety gaps: Exploring an integrative approach to gather safety information from patients in primary care


This project is supported by the Digital Innovations for Patient Safety theme

Why is this project important?

Patients have expressed growing interest in having access to their personal health information, and internationally there has been increasing policy focus on patient records being more accessible. Some research has found associations between allowing patients to access their Electronic Health Record (EHR) and improved patient satisfaction and enhanced patient safety through identifying medication errors (Mold et al, 2015). Further, it is now widely accepted that patients can meaningfully provide feedback on the safety of their care, and recent efforts have concentrated on novel ways of gathering this feedback (e.g. Lawton et al, 2017). This project aims to explore the feasibility and acceptability of using a digital, integrative approach to gather quality and safety information from patients about their care from the perspectives of patients and primary care staff.

What are we doing?

In the first phase of this project, we interviewed 15 primary care users to understand their perspectives on accessing their EHRs and interacting with them by identifying possible errors and providing feedback about their care via online portals. Most participants were keen to access and interact with their EHRs and raised issues to be considered if patients were provided with this service. The image below gives an overview of our findings so far (click on image to enlarge).

The second phase of this project focussed on the staff perspective. The findings from the first phase of the project were used to shape discussions with staff participants. We conducted focus groups with primary care staff to explore whether enabling patients to highlight errors in their EHR and use online portals to provide feedback, is feasible and acceptable from the primary care staff perspective, and the requirements of such a system in practice.

** We are currently analysing the focus group data ** 

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement 

The Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research (YQSR) Group patient panel were involved in early discussions regarding the scope of the project. The panel were invited to participate in interviews, and facilitated interview study recruitment via their affiliated networks. The patient interview findings were discussed with the panel who contributed to decisions around the next phase of work.

Outputs and Impact                                                                                                                      

Contact for more information: Dr Gemma Louch or Dr Abigail Albutt