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Research Outputs

Work Package 6

Research Topic:

Dr Michel WensingLearning for patient safety

Lead: Radboud University of Nijmegen Medical Centre,
The Netherlands.

Contact: Dr Michel Wensing and Dr Cordula Wagner

Description of work

Why the research topic is important

To improve patient safety, we must identify the causes of patient safety incidents, devise solutions and measure the success of improvement efforts. The scope of patient safety in primary care was perceived by physicians and nurses to be very broad. The literature shows that many different aspects of primary care can lead to patient safety incidents. Improving patient safety is obviously the next logical step, assuming that risks can be reduced in at least some clinical or organizational domains. Improving patient safety can be undertaken through different methods, and in different domains. In primary care practice, strategies to improve patient safety may be based on reporting and analysis of incidents or they may target specific high risk domains, such as medication safety.

What have we done (our methodology / approach?)

In the context of LINNEAUS (see, an international study on patient safety in primary care, physicians and researchers with an interest in patient safety were asked what they considered to be important approaches to improve patient safety in primary care. Our aim was to document the perceived importance and current use of a range of strategies in order to guide future research and development in this field.

What is/are the key result(s) and why are the results important (a couple of sentences per key result – be specific so that people can see the value of the LINNEAUS work)?

An international panel of primary care physicians and researchers felt that many different strategies to improve patient safety were important. Highly important strategies with poor implementation were a culture that is positive for patient safety errors, education on patient safety for physicians, and the presence of a patient safety guideline. The most promising patient safety implementation programs should focus on these items, in order to yield the best results.

Tools and Guidance notes

Web tool for Improving patient safety - We are constructing an interactive web tool for assessing patient safety in practice. It will cover the most important domains and items to enable the GP or other practice workers to access and immediately find information, advice and tools to address areas that are less safe in practice.

Journal papers

Conference proceedings

  • Gaal S, Wensing M. Workshop on congress Dutch Association of GPs. Rotterdam, March 2010. Title. Patient safety in your practice.
  • Verstappen W, Gaal S: Invitational conference for policy makers on patient safety. The Hague, June 2010.
  • Verstappen W. National award given by the Dutch Inspectorate for incident-reporting system at GP-out-of-officeservices. Rotterdam, June 2010.
  • Wensing M. Workshop Congress Patient Safety. Nijmegen, September 2010
  • Verstappen W, Gaal S: Linneaus Conference. Workshop on learning for patient safety. Manchester Oct 2010.
  • Gaal S. Oral presentation on Patient safety Congress. Ede February 2011.
  • Verstappen W. Wensing M, Esmael A: Workshop discussing Linneaus partnership and SEA. Glasgow. February 2011.
  • Verstappen W. Verstappen W, Gaal S: Linneaus Conference. Workshop on learning for patient safety for eastern partners. Warsaw September 2011.
  • S. Gaal Thesis Patient safety in Primary Care. Nijmegen. January 2012.

LINNEAUS deliverable(s)

This works aims to identify and recommend on methods for learning for patient safety in primary care.

Specific objectives are:

1. Describe currently used methods for improving patient safety in primary care in Europe.

2. Develop recommendations regarding these methods for improving patient safety in primary care for research, development, and application in primary care.

3. Develop the method of prospective risk analysis (PAR) for use in primary care.

- MS2 Interviews with experts, for learning from patient safety, completed. Data collated and published.


Deliverable 6.1 Recommendations regarding methods for improving patient safety for  research, development and application in primary care

Other LINNEAUS reports