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Patient-safety incidents during COVID-19 health crisis in France: an exploratory sequential multi-method study in primary care

Fournier, Jean-Pascal, Amelineau, Jean-Baptiste, Hild, Sandrine, Nguyen-Soenen, Jerome, Daviot, Anais, Simonneau, Benoit, Bowie, Paul, Donaldson, Liam and Carson-Stevens, Andrew ORCID: 2021. Patient-safety incidents during COVID-19 health crisis in France: an exploratory sequential multi-method study in primary care. European Journal of General Practice 27 (1) , pp. 142-151. 10.1080/13814788.2021.1945029

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Background The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the rapid reorganisation of health and social care services. Patients are already at significant risk of healthcare-associated harm and the wholesale disruption to service delivery during the pandemic stood to heighten those risks. Objectives We explored the type and nature of patient safety incidents in French primary care settings during the COVID-19 first wave to make tentative recommendations for improvement. Methods A national patient safety incident reporting survey was distributed to General Practitioners (GPs) in France on 28 April 2020. Reports were coded using a classification system aligned to the WHO International Classification for Patient Safety (incident types, contributing factors, incident outcomes and severity of harm). Analysis involved data coding, processing, iterative generation of data summaries using descriptive statistical analysis. NCT04346121. Results Of 132 incidents, 58 (44%) related to delayed diagnosis, assessments and referrals. Cancellations of appointments, hospitalisations or procedures was reported in 22 (17%) of these incidents. Home confinement-related incidents accounted for 13 (10%) reports and inappropriate medication stopping for five (4%). Patients delayed attending or did not consult their general practitioner or other healthcare providers due to their fear of contracting COVID-19 infection at an in-person visit in 26 (10%) incidents or fear of burdening their GPs in eight (3%) incidents. Conclusion Constraints from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to patient safety incidents during non-COVID-19 care. Lessons from these incidents pinpoint where primary care services in France can focus resources to design safer systems for patients.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
ISSN: 1381-4788
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 June 2021
Date of Acceptance: 9 June 2021
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 11:40

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