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Barriers and Facilitators of Adverse Event Reporting by Adolescent Patients and Their Families

Sawhney, Payal Naresh MHA, MSW*; Davis, Linda Sue PhD; Daraiseh, Nancy M. PhD; Belle, Lisa MSW§; Walsh, Kathleen E. MD, MSc

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000290
Original Article: PDF Only

Objectives The objectives were (1) to describe barriers and facilitators of adverse event reporting by adolescent patients and parents in a pediatric hospital and (2) to identify characteristics the participants wished to have in a formal reporting system of adverse events.

Methods We used a qualitative design in which 6 focus groups, 3 with parents and 3 with adolescents, were conducted. The transcripts of audio recordings, notes of team debriefings, and written field notes of group behaviors were analyzed using NVivo software for qualitative data analysis.

Results Participants reported that the quality of the experience with the health care system, type of communication with health care providers, and degree of personal self-confidence in communication within the health care system were 3 interacting factors influencing willingness to report adverse events. Preferred reporting mechanisms were different for different participants and included face-to-face meetings with hospital representatives, Web sites, smart phone capability, phone calls from a human, and paper mail. Reporting systems should be easy to use, ensure confidentiality, and provide user feedback.

Conclusions Experience, communication, and confidence are 3 factors that can engage an adolescent patient and parents in their health care. Confident adolescent patients and parents in turn have a possibility of reporting an adverse safety event given an opportunity.

From the *Center for Destination Excellence, †Center for Professional Excellence, and ‡James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence, and §Department of Social work, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.

Correspondence: Kathleen E. Walsh, MD, MSc, James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, 3333 Burnet Ave, Cincinnati, OH (e-mail:

The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

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