Year: 2021 Source: BMC Family Practice. (2020). 21(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s12875-020-1087-4. SIEC No: 20210097

Background: Patient safety issues in primary health care and in emergency departments have not been as thoroughly explored as patient safety issues in the hospital setting. Knowledge is particularly sparse regarding which patients have a higher risk of harm in these settings. The objective was to evaluate which patient-related factors were associated with risk of harm in patients with reports of safety incidents.

Methods: A case-control study performed in primary health care and emergency departments in Sweden. In total, 4536 patients (cases) and 44,949 controls were included in this study. Cases included patients with reported preventable harm in primary health care and emergency departments from January 1st, 2011 until December 31st, 2016.

Results: Psychiatric disease, including all psychiatric diagnoses regardless of severity, nearly doubled the risk of being a reported case of preventable harm (odds ratio, 1.96; p < 0.001). Adjusted for income and education there was still an increased risk (odds ratio, 1.69; p < 0.001). The preventable harm in this group was to 46% diagnostic errors of somatic disease.

Conclusion: Patients with psychiatric illness are at higher risk of preventable harm in primary care and the emergency department. Therefore, this group needs extra attention to prevent harm.