Patients who have been the victim of an adverse medical event will now have a new way to share the details of their experiences, according to the Empowered Patient Coalition. The San Francisco-based not-for-profit group, in collaboration with the Austin, Texas-based Consumers Union Safe Patient Project, has released a 40-question online survey that patients can use to report on their perspectives of incidents of medical harm.
The survey prompts respondents to provide the details of the incident including the state where it occurred, the type of provider involved, contributing factors, whether they considered litigation and providers' response following the event. Patients have the option of submitting the surveys anonymously.
Patients can also choose from several checklists to indicate the procedure or treatment that was associated with the adverse event. For instance, in the section of the survey related to surgical errors or complications, the respondent can check boxes to indicate “wrong-site surgery” or “post-operative complication.” There are also fields to provide details about healthcare-associated infections, falls, adverse medication events and other types of incidents.
“In the aftermath of such an adverse medical event, patients and their loved ones often have a strong need to share information about their experience,” the coalition said in a news release. “In the United States and Canada, there is no comprehensive system in place to capture and disseminate information on adverse events, and patients often feel excluded and unheard.”
In addition to providing a forum for patients who have experienced medical harm, the coalition also plans to aggregate the data and use it to analyze patterns that could lead to adverse events, according to the release.
From: "HITS - Modern Healthcare's daily IT e-newsletter."
The Consumers Union Safe Patient Project could be the start of a very interesting workaround for a lack of cohesive national, public variance reporting.
However, the "considered litigation" factor worries me a bit; will we see lawyers logging in and using the public database (if it's ever open) to find potential clients and suggest suits?
Even though patients and their families can leave responses anonymously, it will be interesting to see if early responders choose this option, or whether a culture of anonymity emerges.
The early community on Quora.com for example encouraged self-identification, but in the last few weeks a greater percentage of both questions and individuals posting answers choose to be 'anonymous' rather than to self-identify.
In the hospital where I served as a Patient Advocate and often filed variances in the ED, we *could* submit variances anonymously but were encouraged not to do so...the CQI root cause analysis tended to be more complete when as much information about the event and participants as it was possible to obtain, including names, was entered.
The Empowered Patient Coalition is new to me, but I'll be making friends in short order.
I'm especially interested in their goal of building a thorough adverse event database and where they hold and aggregate the data and analyze patterns.
A few questions...
1. Do they plan to release the data to the public?
2. What do they gain from building this body of data about adverse events? Do they plan to become a consulting body for hospitals and other organizations about CQI?
We'll see. This is one to watch.