What do family physicians consider an error? A comparison of definitions and physician perception
© Elder et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2006
Received: 25 September 2006
Accepted: 08 December 2006
Published: 08 December 2006
Physicians are being asked to report errors from primary care, but little is known about how they apply the term "error." This study qualitatively assesses the relationship between the variety of error definitions found in the medical literature and physicians' assessments of whether an error occurred in a series of clinical scenarios.
A systematic literature review and pilot survey results were analyzed qualitatively to search for insights into what may affect the use of the term error. The National Library of Medicine was systematically searched for medical error definitions. Survey participants were a random sample of active members of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and a selected sample of family physician patient safety "experts." A survey consisting of 5 clinical scenarios with problems (wrong test performed, abnormal result not followed-up, abnormal result overlooked, blood tube broken and missing scan results) was sent by mail to AAFP members and by e-mail to the experts. Physicians were asked to judge if an error occurred. A qualitative analysis was performed via "immersion and crystallization" of emergent insights from the collected data.
While one definition, that originated by James Reason, predominated the literature search, we found 25 different definitions for error in the medical literature. Surveys were returned by 28.5% of 1000 AAFP members and 92% of 25 experts. Of the 5 scenarios, 100% felt overlooking an abnormal result was an error. For other scenarios there was less agreement (experts and AAFP members, respectively agreeing an error occurred): 100 and 87% when the wrong test was performed, 96 and 87% when an abnormal test was not followed up, 74 and 62% when scan results were not available during a patient visit, and 57 and 47% when a blood tube was broken. Through qualitative analysis, we found that three areas may affect how physicians make decisions about error: the process that occurred vs. the outcome that occurred, rare vs. common occurrences and system vs. individual responsibility
There is a lack of consensus about what constitutes an error both in the medical literature and in decision making by family physicians. These potential areas of confusion need further study.
"Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides." (Rita Mae Brown, Starting From Scratch, New York: Bantam, 1988)
What we call things matters – reports of medical errors "channel attention, shape interpretations and serve as springboards for action". Many entities require the reporting of errors, [2–7] and with the passage of the United States Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, it is likely that even more physicians will be asked to identify and report errors. Once a domain primarily of hospitals, the importance of medical errors occurring in the outpatient, primary care setting has become more apparent, [9–15] and physicians are being asked to report errors from this venue as well.
Yet, while physicians are being asked to find, report and reduce medical errors in their practices, we lack a universally understood definition of exactly what is meant by "medical error"[1, 16–19]. Previous primary care studies have demonstrated large differences in the number of errors reported by individual physicians, even within the same practices[12, 20] and research in hospitals has found differences in how health care workers interpret terms like error, incident and event[21, 22]. Individual interpretation of what is an error plays a role in identifying errors and making reports[23, 24]. While collations of some patient safety terms from the literature have been done, [25, 26] how these definitions affect physicians' use of terms like "error" is not clear.
In order to better understand what may affect a physician's understanding of "medical error," we performed a three step process: 1) We systematically collected definitions for medical error found in the medical literature; 2) We surveyed family physicians and family physician medical error "experts" about whether they felt a medical error occurred in a series of common clinical scenarios; and 3) We qualitatively explored both the definitions and the survey findings to see if a model of factors might help explain how physicians make decisions about whether to call something an error.
Using the MESH term Medical Error/classification, we retrieved 216 English language articles from 1985 – October, 2005. All abstracts were reviewed, and 68 articles dealing with "medical error" or "error" were reviewed for definitions. Further articles containing definitions were gleaned from the medical errors literature searching with the MESH term Medical Error and the secondary text phrases "primary care," "family medicine" and "error reporting" (93, 37 and 78 abstracts reviewed, and a total of 16 additional articles reviewed). Definitions that focused exclusively on a subset of error, such as medication or diagnosis, were excluded. In addition, the report of the World Health Organization on a draft comparative glossary of patient safety terms, prepared by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations was also reviewed[25, 27]. In addition, definitions used in national surveys (United States) and polls were collated and added to the definition list.
Clinical scenarios used in the survey
Dr. Jones ordered liver function tests to evaluate Mr. Black's health complaints. The next day, a report of Mr. Black's lipids (but not liver tests) shows up on Dr. Jones' desk and they are normal. Dr. Jones documents "normal lipids, notify patient" and sends it to his nurse. A week later, Mr. Black returns, more ill, and is found to have acute hepatitis A.
Mrs. Rose, a patient with high blood pressure, has a basic metabolic profile performed, and is found to have a random blood glucose of 189. Dr. Smith documents "have patient return for repeat glucose and glycohemoglobin." The nurse documents "attempted phone call, no answer." Eight months later, the patient returns with a yeast infection and is found to have a random blood glucose of 356
Dr. Miller reviewed a large number of lab results from his "normal lab results" folder and sent them to be filed. The next month, he sees Ms Brown again for menstrual irregularities. In reviewing her chart, Dr. Miller sees he wrote "normal, file" next to an elevated TSH of 37.
Mr. White/broken tube
Mr. White got his blood drawn by Dr. Jones' medical assistant for an ordered test. After he left, she dropped the tube and broke it. Mr. White is called, and makes another visit to the office to get his blood drawn the next day.
Ms Green/CT results
Ms Green wants to know the results of head CT scan ordered by her doctor to evaluate her headaches. The test was done at the hospital X-ray department last week. She calls the office and leaves a message asking the doctor or nurse to call her. When no one returns her call, she calls back two days later and makes an appointment. At the visit, the CT results are not in her chart, and cannot be found in the office.
We elected to survey both a random sample of active family physician members of the AAFP as well as a selected sample of family physician "experts" that have presented, published or advocated nationally about medical error. We did this in order to look for a possible disconnect between the application of error by these two groups. After approval by our institutional review board, we mailed our survey and a cover letter to a random sample of 1000 active family physician members of the AAFP and by e-mail to 25 family physician experts. All non-responders were sent a second survey 3 weeks later. Demographic and practice data were also collected about each AAFP respondent. Data were entered into an excel database.
Data were reviewed for accuracy, and descriptive statistics were performed using SPSS. The survey was performed for descriptive purposes only, and was not powered for statistical analyses. While the survey did not ask for comments, several participants added hand written comments and these were separated and reviewed. Data sources for the qualitative analysis were collated and included the survey scenarios, the survey results, hand written comments, and the definitions from the literature review. These were analyzed together using the qualitative technique of immersion and crystallization[31, 32]. With this technique, we immersed ourselves in these data, gaining emergent insights. Immersion included reading, re-reading, organizing phrases and segments of written text, model building and discussion. We then participated in a series of discussions in order to explicate theories and synthesize ideas. We then returned to the medical literature and the data sources looking for both corroborating findings and alternative interpretations.
Medical error definitions from the medical literature
James Reason's definition
The failure of planned actions to achieve their desired goal. 
Based on James Reason's definition.
Failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim; the accumulation of errors results in accidents. 
The failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (i.e., error execution) or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (i.e., error of planning). 
The failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim. Errors can include problems in practice, products, procedures, and systems. 
From essays, editorials and reviews
An unintentional deviation from standard operating procedures or practice guidelines. 
Deviation in a process of care that may or may not cause harm to patients. 
An adverse event or near miss that is preventable with the current state of medical knowledge. 
An act of commission or omission that substantively increases the risk of a medical adverse event. 
A failure of a structure or process only to the extent that it prevents maximizing the outcomes of interest. 
A failure to perform an intended action which was correct given the circumstances. It can only occur if there was or should have been an appropriate intention to act on the basis of a perceived or remembered state of events and if the action finally taken was not that which was or should have been intended. 
Errors in healthcare are by definition, human errors, and human errors are errors in human actions. 
Underlying causes of failed decisions for the failed delivery of care.... Errors are the causes of the failed processes, whether they are in decision making or in treatment delivery. 
Failure to meet reasonable expectations for goal-directed activity. 
Mistakes that encompass not only lapses in safety (mistakes in the provision of health care that expose patients to "additive" risk), but also include inattention to extant risks that patients bring to the encounter. 
An act in the process of care that could harm a patient, therefore, measures of medical errors can be considered process measures. 
Used in research and reporting
An act of commission or omission that caused, or contributed to the cause of, the unintended injury. 
Any event you don't wish to have happen again, that might represent a threat to patient safety. 
Anything that happened in your own practice that should not have happened, that was not anticipated and that makes you say, "that should not happen in my practice and I don't want it to happen again. 
A commission or omission with potentially negative consequences for the patient that would have been judged wrong by skilled and knowledgeable peers at the time it occurred, independent of whether there were any negative consequences 
A failure to meet some realistic expectation (an action, process, diagnosis or endpoint). 
An unintended event, no matter how seemingly trivial or commonplace, that could have harmed or did harm a patient. 
An event that was not completed as intended and/or meant that work was disrupted in some way. 
Used in research and surveys with patients and the public
Sometimes when people are ill and receive medical care, mistakes are made that result in serious harm, such as death, disability or additional or prolonged treatment. These are called medical errors. 
Some examples of medical mistakes are when a wrong dose of medicine is given, an operation is performed other than what was intended for the patient or results of a medical test are lost or overlooked 
Preventable incidents that result in a perceived harm 
Of note is that several definitions include comments about actual or potential outcomes, for example, "a threat to patient safety," "potentially negative consequences," "result in a perceived harm," or "result in serious harm". Other definitions, however, focus only on the processes. In addition, some definitions focus on the human components, while others more on systems. Surveys and polls to both the public and physicians tend to define by example and include harmful outcomes in the definition[36, 39].
Demographics of participants
30 – 73 (ave. 48.3)
34 – 58 (ave.47)
Specialty scope of practice
Family practice only
Size of Practice
2 – 6
7 – 12
13 – 20
Greater than 20
Residency practice location
Percent of respondents who believed an error or mistake occurred in the described scenario.
Yes, an error occurred
No, an error did not occur
Unable to tell if an error occurred
Mr. White/broken tube
Ms Green/CT results
Qualitative categorization of "error" decision making
Factors associated with assigning error to a scenario as determined by qualitative analysis.
Error decision making factor
Survey questions and findings
Knowledge of harmful outcomes
87 – 100% agree an error occurred in scenarios where harm is most evident (clinical symptoms continue, worsen or develop)
13 – 14% unable to make a decision about error where outcome is most unknown (missing test result)
"increases the risk of medical adverse event," "could harm a patient," "caused or contributed to unintended injury," "could have harmed or did harm a patient."
"failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan."
Everydayness of event
26% to 53% disagree an error occurred in scenarios most likely to occur in physicians' offices (broken tube, lost test results)
"a failure to meet some realistic expectation"
"no matter how seemingly trivial or commonplace"
100% agree an error occurred in the scenario with most clear individual responsibility (missed abnormal result)
"errors in healthcare are human errors," "an act of commission or omission."
"failed processes," "a failure of a structure or process."
Error and its many synonyms not only appear in medical journals, they are words used frequently in daily conversation. James Reason's definition is widely accepted, frequently cited in the medical literature and encompasses human and system processes[33, 44]. Yet, in attempts to clarify, expand and modify, many others have also defined medical error. (Table 2) After deciding something is "not right," additional questions, even if not explicitly asked, likely figure into the decision making process: Do I know the outcome and is there harm from this event, is this event a common or a rare occurrence and does responsibility for this event lie predominantly with an individual or with the system? (Figure 1)
In both the medical literature and for our participants, outcome seems to influence determinations about error[45, 46]. Considering the outcome as well as the process in making decisions about error is not unusual[11, 17]. As noted, several of the error definitions found in the literature include harm or potential harm in the definition[14, 35, 36, 39, 47–49]. Woods and Cook remark on this confusion by describing three ways in which "error" is used: error as the cause of failure (or poor outcome), as the failure itself or as departure from a standard process. Hindsight and outcome bias describe how knowledge of the outcome affects the decision making about the quality of processes[50, 51]. For example, if we can't find a test result when wanted, but it is normal and doesn't change our management, we define the lost result differently than when a result is abnormal, and now treatment has been significantly delayed. The process of losing the result may be the same, but our "hindsight" of the "outcome" affects how we interpret that process. Our physician respondents may be so used to using the hindsight of outcome to assess a process, that without that information (especially with the missing CT result) it is difficult for them make a decision about just the process. Similar findings in other studies note that uncertain outcomes lead to larger proportions of respondents refusing to make a decision about error. Tamuz and colleagues found that errors detected and corrected by staff in a hospital were felt to be non-events that occurred as a natural part of the work flow, and not error[1, 22]. In the model in figure 1, knowledge of harm tips the balance towards labeling an event as error, but not knowing the outcome leaves the balance unswayed.
Some problems may occur so commonly in practice today, that it is difficult for physicians to perceive these as "errors." For example, there is probably not a practice in existence that draws blood that has not lost, broken or somehow damaged a blood specimen tube. And missing clinical information has recently been documented to occur in approximately 14% of all office visits. The two scenarios we offered physicians of these commonly occurring events, Mr. White/broken tube and Ms Green/CT results, received the least agreement from physicians that an error occurred. Perhaps the fact that these experiences are weekly, if not daily occurrences for many makes it difficult for physicians to acknowledge these as "errors." While these scenarios certainly fit definitions of medical error, [2, 10, 48], these "academic" definitions may seem disconnected from practicing physicians who have emotional and personal responses to words such as error[22, 42, 52]. Events that are infrequent and unexpected are more likely to tip the balance toward error (figure 1), whereas those that are common and expected (like an occasional broken blood tube or missing test results) tip the balance away from error[22, 24].
There may also be differences in how errors are perceived by physicians whether the problem appears to be in the system or due to an individual's action. While three scenarios had strong agreement that an error occurred (Mr. Black/LFT, Mrs. Rose/glc and Ms Brown/TSH), in only one, where the physician misreads an abnormal TSH is there 100% agreement from all the participants. Traditionally, when errors occurred, the standard response was to "blame and shame"[33, 53]. A responsible person is most clearly identified in the Ms Brown/TSH scenario, and may be part of the reason why all physicians identified an error in this scenario. Physicians may more easily identify errors where the decision and action of an individual are at fault, rather than where the system fell down. A qualitative, hospital based study previously found that complex system errors were more likely to be called "practice variances" or "suboptimal outcomes" rather than error. Reason and others have addressed this complexity of both system problems and human actions by describing "latent" errors (the underlying system) and "active" errors (the human actions) [30, 44, 54, 55]. But the emotional aspects of feeling responsible may tip the balance toward deciding an event is an error more than an understanding of complex systems.
There are several limitations to this study. The literature search was systematic, but not exhaustive. Non English language articles were not reviewed, and the medical errors literature is too large to review the body of all articles to see if a definition of error is proposed. However, our review did reveal a broad spectrum of error definition, not previously collated and published. Our survey response rate of 28.5% from the AAFP solicitation is low, and certainly limits the generalizability of the results. Those who chose to respond may differ in their opinions about the issues under study. However, we used the survey qualitatively to illuminate and illustrate potential deficiencies in error definitions. The scenarios we devised came from our clinical experience and our experience in researching testing process errors in family physician offices[11, 12, 20]. Although the scenarios were reviewed for face validity and pilot tested, there still may have been some unclear sections of the scenarios, leading to responses that we might have misinterpreted. However, this method mimics the practical application of error decision making, and has been used successfully to study patient safety and errors[21, 56, 57]. Use of the surveys did not allow us to discover if factors such as knowledge of harm were being used inappropriately by our participants in making decisions about error, and this is an area for further research.
Physicians are being asked to make reports of errors, and this is likely to increase in the future. Error reports can be essential to determining the focus of patient safety attention and interventions. Further research is needed to better understand how physicians make decisions about calling an event an error. We generated a model from this study that proposes that three additional elements are important in making a decision about whether an event is an error: Do I know the outcome and is there harm from this event, is this event a common or a rare occurrence and does responsibility for this event lie predominantly with an individual or with the system? The relative importance of each of these areas, and their interrelationships need to be confirmed by further research, including both qualitative and quantitative studies. As we better understand how family physicians use the word "error" then the reports they make will be even more useful as springboards for action.
- Sutcliffe KM: Defining and classifying medical error: lessons for learning. Qual Saf Health Care. 2004, 13 (1): 8-9. 10.1136/qshc.2003.008987.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Dovey SM, Phillips RL: What should we report to medical error reporting systems?. Qual Saf Health Care. 2004, 13 (5): 322-323. 10.1136/qshc.2004.011791.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Hobgood C, Xie J, Weiner B, Hooker J: Error identification, disclosure, and reporting: practice patterns of three emergency medicine provider types. Acad Emerg Med. 2004, 11 (2): 196-199. 10.1197/j.aem.2003.08.020.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Leape LL: Reporting of medical errors. Qual Health Care. 2000, 9: 144-145. 10.1136/qhc.9.3.144.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Weingart SN, Callanan LD, Ship AN, Aronson MD: A Physician-based Voluntary Reporting System for Adverse Events and Medical Errors. J Gen Intern Med. 2001, 16 (12): 809-814. 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.10231.x.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Weissman JS, Annas CL, Epstein AM, Schneider EC, Clarridge B, Kirle L, Gatsonis C, Feibelmann S, Ridley N: Error reporting and disclosure systems: views from hospital leaders. Jama. 2005, 293 (11): 1359-1366. 10.1001/jama.293.11.1359.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wild D, Bradley EH: The gap between nurses and residents in a community hospital's error-reporting system. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2005, 31 (1): 13-20.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Carney JN: Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. Bricker and Eckler Health Care Client Bulletin. 2005, 05-06: 1-4.Google Scholar
- Bhasale AL, Miller GC, Reid S, Britt HC: Analysing potential harm in Australian general practice; an incident-monitoring study. Med J Aust. 1998, 169 ( 20 July 1998): 73-76.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dovey SM, Meyers DS, Phillips RL, Green LA, Fryer GE, Galliher JM, Kappus J: A preliminary taxonomy of medical errors in family practice. Quality and Safety in Health Care. 2002, 11: 233-238. 10.1136/qhc.11.3.233.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Elder NC, Dovey S: A Classification of medical errors and preventable adverse events in primary care: A synthesis of the literature. J Fam Pract. 2002, 51: 927-932.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Elder NC, Vonder Meulen MB, Cassedy A: The identification of medical errors by family physicians during outpatient visits. Annals of Fam Med. 2004, 2 (2): 125-129. 10.1370/afm.16.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ely JW, Levinson W, Elder NC, Mainous AG, Vinson DC: Perceived causes of family physicians' errors. J Fam Pract. 1995, 40 (4): 337-344.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kuzel AJ, Woolf SH, Gilchrist VJ, Engel JD, LaVeist TA, Vincent C, Frankel RM: Patient reports of preventable problems and harms in primary health care. Ann Fam Med. 2004, 2 (4): 333-340. 10.1370/afm.220.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Makeham MA, Dovey SM, County M, Kidd MR: An international taxonomy for errors in general practice: a pilot study. Med J Aust. 2002, 177 (2): 68-72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Weingart SN: Beyond Babel: prospects for a universal patient safety taxonomy. Int J Qual Health Care. 2005, 17 (2): 93-94. 10.1093/intqhc/mzi029.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pronovost PJ, Miller MR, Wachter RM: Tracking progress in patient safety: an elusive target. Jama. 2006, 296 (6): 696-699. 10.1001/jama.296.6.696.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mason DJ: Who says it's an error? Research highlights a disagreement among health care workers. Am J Nurs. 2004, 104 (6): 7-View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Zhan C, Kelley E, Yang HP, Keyes M, Battles J, Borotkanics RJ, Stryer D: Assessing patient safety in the United States: challenges and opportunities. Med Care. 2005, 43 (3 Suppl): I42-7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Phillips RL, Dovey S, Graham D, Elder N, Hickner J: Learning from different lenses: Reports of medical errors in primary care by clinicians, staff and patients. J Patient Safety.Google Scholar
- Cook AF, Hoas H, Guttmannova K, Joyner JC: An error by any other name. Am J Nurs. 2004, 104 (6): 32-43; quiz 44.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tamuz M, Thomas EJ, Franchois KE: Defining and classifying medical error: lessons for patient safety reporting systems. Qual Saf Health Care. 2004, 13 (1): 13-20. 10.1136/qshc.2002.003376.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Rubin G, George A, Chinn DJ, Richardson C: Errors in general practice: development of an error classification and pilot study of a method for detecting errors. Qual Saf Health Care. 2003, 12 (6): 443-447. 10.1136/qhc.12.6.443.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Sandars J, Esmail A: The frequency and nature of medical error in primary care: understanding the diversity across studies. Fam Pract. 2003, 20 (3): 231-236. 10.1093/fampra/cmg301.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Chang A, Schyve PM, Croteau RJ, O'Leary DS, Loeb JM: The JCAHO patient safety event taxonomy: a standardized terminology and classification schema for near misses and adverse events. Int J Qual Health Care. 2005, 17 (2): 95-105. 10.1093/intqhc/mzi021.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Yu KH, Nation RL, Dooley MJ: Multiplicity of medication safety terms, definitions and functional meanings: when is enough enough?. Qual Saf Health Care. 2005, 14 (5): 358-363. 10.1136/qshc.2005.014159.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Loeb JM, Chang A: World Health Organization Patient Safety: Reduction Of Adverse Events Through Common Understanding And Common Reporting Tools. Towards An International Patient Safety Taxonomy: A Draft Comparative Glossary Of Patient Safety Terms. 2003, Geneva, Switzerland , World Health OrganizationGoogle Scholar
- Hickner JM, Fernald DH, Harris DM, Poon EG, Elder NC, Mold JW: Issues and initiatives in the testing process in primary care physician offices. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2005, 31 (2): 81-89.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Smith PC, Araya-Guerra R, Bublitz C, Parnes B, Dickinson LM, Van Vorst R, Westfall JM, Pace WD: Missing clinical information during primary care visits. Jama. 2005, 293 (5): 565-571. 10.1001/jama.293.5.565.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Reason J: Human Error. 1990, Cambridge , Cambridge University PressView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Borkan J: Immersion/Crystallization. Doing Qualitative Research, second edition. Edited by: Crabtree BF, Miller WL. 1999, Thousand Oaks , SageGoogle Scholar
- Miller WL, Crabtree BF: Qualitative Analysis: How to Begin Making Sense. Family Practice Research Journal. 1994, 14 (3): 289-297.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kohn LT, Corrigan JM, Donaldson MS: To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. 1999, Washington, DC , National Academy PressGoogle Scholar
- Fernald DH: Event reporting to a primary care patient safety reporting system: A report from the ASIPS Collaborative. Annals of Fam Med. 2004, 2 (4): 327-332. 10.1370/afm.221.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wu AW, Folkman S, S.J. MP, Lo B: Do house officers learn from their mistakes?. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1991, 265 (16): 2089-2094. 10.1001/jama.265.16.2089.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kaiser Family foundation/Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/Harvard School of Public Health: National Survey on consumer's experiences with patient safety and quality information. The Kaiser Family Foundation / Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/ Harvard School of Public Health. 2004, Menlo Park, CA , The Henry.J.Kaiser Family FoundationGoogle Scholar
- Zhang J, Patel V, Johnson TR: Medical Error: Is this Solution Medical or Cognitive. Journal of American Medicine. 2002, 9 (6): S75-S77.Google Scholar
- McNutt RA, Abrams RI: A model of medical error based on a model of disease: interactions between adverse events, failures, and their errors. Qual Manag Health Care. 2002, 10 (2): 23-28.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- National Patient Safety Foundation: Public opinion of patient safety issues. 1997, Chicago, IL , National Patient Safety FoundationGoogle Scholar
- American Academy of Family Physicians. [http://www.aafp.org]
- Cosby KS: A framework for classifying factors that contribute to error in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med. 2003, 42 (6): 815-823. 10.1016/S0196-0644(03)00635-8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pani JR, Chariker JH: The psychology of error in relation to medical practice. J Surg Oncol. 2004, 88 (3): 130-142. 10.1002/jso.20123.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hofer TP, Kerr EA, Hayward RA: What is an error?. Effective Clinical Practice. 2000, 3 (Nov/Dec): 261-269.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Reason J: Human error: models and management. BMJ. 2000, 320: 768-770. 10.1136/bmj.320.7237.768.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Hofer TP, Hayward RA: Are bad outcomes from questionable clinical decisions preventable medical errors? A case of cascade iatrogenesis. Ann Intern Med. 2002, 137 (5 Part 1): 327-333.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Woods D, Cook RI: Mistaking Error. The Patient Safety Handbook. Edited by: Youngberg BJ, Harlie MJ. 2003, Jones and BartlettGoogle Scholar
- Hayward RA, Asch SM, Hogan MM, Hofer TP, Kerr EA: Sins of omission: getting too little medical care may be the greatest threat to patient safety. J Gen Intern Med. 2005, 20 (8): 686-691. 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0152.x.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Pace WD, Fernald DH, Harris DM, Dickinson LM, Araya-Guerra R, Staton EW, VanVorst R, Parnes BL, Main DS: Developing a Taxonomy for Coding Ambulatory Medical Errors: A Report from the ASIPS Collaborative. Advances in Patient Safety. Edited by: Research AHQ. 2005, Advances in Patient Safety, Volume 2: 63-73.Google Scholar
- Wilson RM, Harrison BT, Gibberd RW, Hamilton JD: An analysis of the causes of adverse events from the Quality in Australian Health Care Study. Med J Aust. 1999, 170 (9): 411-415.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Berlin L: Outcome bias. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004, 183 (3): 557-560.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hugh TB, Tracy GD: Hindsight bias in medicolegal expert reports. Med J Aust. 2002, 176 (6): 277-278.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lester H, Tritter JQ: Medical error: a discussion of the medical construction of error and suggestions for reforms of medical education to decrease error. Med Educ. 2001, 35 (9): 855-861. 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2001.01003.x.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Runciman WB, Merry AF, Tito F: Error, blame, and the law in health care--an antipodean perspective. Ann Intern Med. 2003, 138 (12): 974-979.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Leape LL: Error in medicine. JAMA. 1994, 272 (23): 1851-1868. 10.1001/jama.272.23.1851.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Reason J: Understanding adverse events: The human factor. Clinical Risk Management: Enhancing Patient Safety. Edited by: Vincent C. 2001, London , BMJ PublicationsGoogle Scholar
- Schwappach DL, Koeck CM: What makes an error unacceptable? A factorial survey on the disclosure of medical errors. Int J Qual Health Care. 2004, 16 (4): 317-326. 10.1093/intqhc/mzh058.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Gallagher TH, Waterman AD, Ebers AG, Fraser VJ, Levinson W: Patients' and physicians' attitudes regarding the disclosure of medical errors. Jama. 2003, 289 (8): 1001-1007. 10.1001/jama.289.8.1001.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Forum NQ: Serious Reportable Events in Healthcare: A consensus Report. 2002, Washington, DC , NQFGoogle Scholar
- Preliminary Research Agenda: Medical Errors and Patient Safety. [http://www.quic.gov/summit/resagenda.htm]
- Segen JC: Current Med talk: A dictionary of medical terms, slang and jargon. 1995, Stamford, CT , Appleton and LangeGoogle Scholar
- Thomas EJ, Brennan T: Errors and adverse events in medicine: An overview. Clinical Risk Management: Enhancing Patient Safety. Edited by: Vincent CA. 2001, London , BMJ PublishingGoogle Scholar
- Foundation NPS: Medical error: definition. [http://www.npsf.org]
- Hayward RA, Asch SM, Hogan MM, Hofer TP, Kerr EA: Sins of Omission: Getting too little medical care may be the greatest threat to patient safety. J Gen Intern Med. 2005, 20: 686-691. 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0152.x.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Senders J, Green M: Human Error in Medicine. [http://www.visualexpert.com/resources/mederror.html]
- Zhang J, Patel VL, Johnson TR: Medical error: is the solution medical or cognitive?. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2002, 9 (6 Suppl): S75-7. 10.1197/jamia.M1232.View ArticlePubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
- Woolf SH: Patient safety is not enough: targeting quality improvements to optimize the health of the population. Ann Intern Med. 2004, 140 (1): 33-36.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2296/7/73/prepub
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.