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Can patients contribute to safer care in meetings with healthcare professionals? A cross-sectional survey of patient perceptions and beliefs
  1. Carin Ericsson1,2,
  2. Janna Skagerström2,3,
  3. Kristina Schildmeijer4,
  4. Kristofer Årestedt4,5,
  5. Anders Broström6,7,
  6. Amir Pakpour6,8,
  7. Per Nilsen2
  1. 1 Cardiology and Speciality Medicine Centre, Region Ostergotland, Linkoping, Sweden
  2. 2 Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linkoping, Sweden
  3. 3 Research and Development Unit, Region Ostergotland, Linkoping, Sweden
  4. 4 Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
  5. 5 The Research Section, Kalmar County Council, Kalmar, Sweden
  6. 6 Department of Nursing, School of Health and Welfare, Jonkoping University, Jonkoping, Sweden
  7. 7 Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Region Ostergotland, Linkoping, Sweden
  8. 8 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin, Iran
  1. Correspondence to Carin Ericsson, Cardiology and Speciality Medicine Centre, Region Ostergotland, Linkoping 581 91, Sweden; Carin.Ericsson{at}


Objectives To investigate patients’ perceptions of their meetings with healthcare professionals and the extent to which they believe they can influence patient safety in these meetings.

Design Cross-sectional survey of patients using a study-specific questionnaire. Data were analysed using both parametric and non-parametric statistics.

Setting The study was conducted in primary and secondary care in three county councils in southeast Sweden by means of a survey questionnaire despatched in January 2017.

Participants Survey data were collected from 1445 patients, 333 of whom were complainants (patients who had filed a complaint about being harmed in healthcare) and 1112 regular patients (patients recruited from healthcare units).

Main outcome measures Patients’ perceptions of meetings with physicians and nurses, beliefs concerning patients’ contributions to safer care and whether the patients had suffered harm in healthcare during the past 10 years.

Results Most respondents reported that it was easy to ask physicians and nurses questions (84.9% and 86.6%) and to point out if something felt odd in their care (77.7% and 80.7%). In general, complainants agreed to a higher extent compared with regular patients that patients can contribute to safer care (mean 1.92 and 2.13, p<0.001). Almost one-third (31.2%) of the respondents (both complainants and regular patients) reported that they had suffered harm in healthcare during the past 10 years.

Conclusions Most respondents believed that healthcare professionals can facilitate patient interaction and increase patient safety by encouraging patients to ask questions and take an active part in their care. Further research will need to identify strategies to support such questioning in routine practice and ensure that it achieves its intended goals.

  • patient safety
  • patient satisfaction
  • adverse events, epidemiology and detection
  • medical error, measurement/epidemiology

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  • Contributors CE, JS, KGIS and PN designed the study and the questionnaire. CE and KGIS administered the data collection. KÅ conducted the analysis, with additional statistical input from AP. CE, JS, KGIS and PN wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and KÅ, AB and AP provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the paper for submission.

  • Funding This study was funded by The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, FORTE, 2014-4567.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Regional Ethical Board in Linköping (Dnr 2016/80-31).

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

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.