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Qual Saf Health Care 12:404 doi:10.1136/qhc.12.6.404
  • Commentary
  • Error classification

Classifying and identifying errors

  1. A J Avery
  1. School of Community Health Sciences, The Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; tony.avery@nottingham.ac.uk

      There are no easy answers to developing an all encompassing medical error classification system in primary care

      Classifications can help us to make sense of the world and, in the field of medical errors, they can help us to assess what are the most important problems. There have been numerous attempts to develop classifications of medical error, although relatively few of these have come from primary care. This commentary highlights some issues in the classification of medical errors and considers the case for more systematic attempts to determine the incidence of these errors.

      One of the problems with classifying medical errors is that there are so many ways of doing it. For example, one can focus on processes such diagnosis1 or describe underlying system failures.2 Also, one can classify errors in terms of the types of disease, drug, or procedure most commonly associated with error or in terms of the severity …

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