Background to the methods & measures project
Identifying methods and measures for assessing patient safety in different settings.
In patient safety research, methods and measures have primarily been developed to identify errors and adverse events that occur in hospitals. Community settings such as home calls or visits to dispensaries, general practitioners or pharmacists have not been well researched. Measures of patient safety are lacking in this type of setting. Effective research methods are lacking in general in the data poorer environments.
The focus of WHO Patient Safety is on clarifying the methods and measures necessary to advance the knowledge around patient safety issues particularly in developing and transitional countries; and to respond to new and as yet unmet research questions, such as the role of reporting by health workers and the potential use of electronic data collection systems for the identification of adverse events.
Following a global literature analysis undertaken by Dr Philippe Michel on behalf of WHO, a working group has been created to help set the research agenda in the field of methods & measures.
Literature review on methods for assessing the nature and scale of harm caused by health systems
- More information on the literature review process
The working group is led by Dr Ross Baker of Toronto University and Dr Bill Runciman of the Australian Patient Safety Foundation. At its first meeting, in December 2006, fourteen international experts decided to focus on methods for acute care settings, community-based care, primary care, evaluation, and new methodologies for data poor environments.
The working group is in the process of editing a practical guide on methods and measures and a guide on the effectiveness of patient safety interventions. It is also working to establish a conceptual framework for research on methods and measures and will publish two background papers, one for acute care and one for community based care. Specific research methods will then be recommended for a range of patient safety research questions, settings and contexts, with a particular emphasis on developing countries.