Background Differences in contexts (eg, policies, healthcare organisation characteristics) may explain variations in the effects of patient safety practice (PSP) implementations. However, knowledge of which contextual features are important determinants of PSP effectiveness is limited and consensus is lacking on a taxonomy of which contexts matter.
Methods Iterative, formal discussions were held with a 22-member technical expert panel composed of experts or leaders in patient safety, healthcare systems, and methods. First, potentially important contextual features were identified, focusing on five PSPs. Then, two surveys were conducted to determine the context likely to influence PSP implementations.
Results The panel reached a consensus on a taxonomy of four broad domains of contextual features important for PSP implementations: safety culture, teamwork and leadership involvement; structural organisational characteristics (eg, size, organisational complexity or financial status); external factors (eg, financial or performance incentives or PSP regulations); and availability of implementation and management tools (eg, training organisational incentives). Panelists also tended to rate specific patient safety culture, teamwork and leadership contexts as high priority for assessing their effects on PSP implementations, but tended to rate specific organisational characteristic contexts as high priority only for use in PSP evaluations. Panelists appeared split on whether specific external factors and implementation/management tools were important for assessment or only description.
Conclusion This work can guide research commissioners and evaluators on the contextual features of PSP implementations that are important to report or evaluate. It represents a first step towards developing guidelines on contexts in PSP implementation evaluations. However, the science of context measurement needs maturing.
- patient safety
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Funding Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.