Table 1

Summary of quantitative data collection methods by system

SystemDefinition against which reliability was measuredMethod of data collectionSample: total and by organisation
1Clinical information availability in hospital outpatient clinicsCore data set of information required in a typical surgical outpatient clinic*, as agreed by surgeons. 100% reliability defined as all patients having all required information available at the time of their appointmentForm completed by surgeons in clinic about missing information, including perceived risks and the action taken as a result
  • Total: 1161 outpatient consultations

  • A: 411

  • E: 423

  • G: 327

2Prescribing for hospital inpatients
  • A published, validated, definition of a prescribing error was used15

  • 100% reliability defined as all medication orders being error free

Prescribing errors in newly written inpatient and discharge medication orders identified and recorded by ward pharmacists. Medical admissions and surgical wards were studied. Clinical importance assessed using a validated method
  • Total: 6605 medication orders

  • A: 2689

  • B: 1812

  • C: 2104

3Equipment availability in the operating theatre100% reliability defined as all operations having the required equipment available and in working condition at the time it was neededTheatre staff collected data on equipment failures in trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery and paediatric operating theatres, including perceived delays to operation and threats to patient safety
  • Total: 490 operations studied

  • A:258

  • D:67

  • F:165

4Systems for inserting peripheral intravenous lines100% reliability defined as having all equipment needed to insert the intravenous line available to staff at the time requiredStaff performing cannulations in accident and emergency departments and acute medical wards completed data collection forms after each procedure, including perceived threats to patient safety
  • Total: 350 intravenous line insertions studied

  • A:76

  • D:62

  • F:212

  • * Past medical history; referral or other specialty letter; discharge summary; current medication; allergies; radiology/imaging results; diagnostic test results; procedure notes/anaesthetic record; electrocardiogram report; blood laboratory results; outpatient medical record/last clinic letter.