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Patient Safety Incidents Reported by the General Public in Korea

A Cross-Sectional Study

Ock, Minsu MD, PhD*; Jo, Min-Woo MD, PhD; Choi, Eun Young RN; Lee, Sang-Il MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000509
Original Article: PDF Only

Objectives Previous studies have demonstrated that the general public can report various patient safety incidents (PSIs) that are not identified by other methods. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of PSIs that the general public experience in Korea.

Methods In face-to-face surveys, participants were asked to report the frequency and type of PSIs, level of patient harm, and whether the PSIs were perceived as a medical error. We conducted logistic regression analysis to identify the sociodemographic factors of participants associated with their PSI experiences. Additionally, we analyzed relationships between the perception of PSIs as a medical error and both the type of PSIs and level of patient harm.

Results Among the 700 participants surveyed, 24 (3.4%) and 37 (5.3%) individuals reported that they or their family members experienced PSIs, respectively. Participants with at least a college degree were more likely to report PSI experiences than those with a lower educational level (odds ratio, 3.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.86-6.74). Whereas approximately half of participants (48.2%) involved in PSI experiences that caused no harm thought that there were medical errors in their PSIs, all participants (100%) who experienced PSIs with severe harm responded that medical errors occurred in their PSIs.

Conclusions The general public can report their experiences with PSIs. Periodic surveys that target the general public will provide additional data that reflect the level of patient safety from the viewpoint of the general public.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

From the *Department of Preventive Medicine, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan; and

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Correspondence: Sang-Il Lee, MD, PhD, MPH, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88, Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul, 05505, Republic of Korea (e-mail:

The authors disclose no conflict of interest. This study did not receive any financial support.

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