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Safety learning system development—incident reporting component for family practice
  1. M O'Beirne1,2,
  2. P Sterling1,
  3. R Reid3,
  4. W Tink1,
  5. S Hohman1,
  6. P Norton1
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Preventive Care, Group Health Permanente, Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Maeve O'Beirne, Associate Professor, W21C Research and Innovation Centre, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4Z6; obeirne{at}


Objective To determine the required components for developing the reporting components of a safety learning system (SLS) for community-based family practice.

Methods Multiple databases were searched for all languages for all types of papers related to medical safety in community practice: Books@Ovid, BIOSIS Previews, CDSR, ACP Journal Club, DARE, CCTR, Ageline, AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, HealthSTAR, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process, Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, HAPI and PsycBOOKS. A grey literature search was done in Google.

Results The online search identified 190 papers. English abstracts were read and the full papers (or chapters) were retrieved for 90, of which 18 were deemed appropriate. The grey literature search revealed 18 additional papers, and an additional 12 papers were identified from bibliographies of included papers. The common themes identified from the articles became the main consideration for developing an SLS for family practice and include current and past initiatives, system design, incident reporting form and classification system.

Conclusion There is a small but growing body of literature concerning the requirements for developing the reporting component of an SLS for family practice. For the reporting component of an SLS to be successful, there needs to be strong leadership, voluntary reporting, legal protection and feedback to reporters.

  • Safety
  • family practice
  • primary healthcare
  • safety learning system

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  • Funding Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, 1565 Carling Avenue, Suite 700 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 8R1; Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Suite 1500, 10104-103 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5J 4A7; Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Suite 1414, 10235-101 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5J 3G1.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.